Sebastián Gatica

Ashoka Fellow
Santiago, Chile
Fellow Since 2011


This profile was prepared when Sebastián Gatica was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2011.
The New Idea
Sebastián is facilitating a process in which communities are taking greater control of the community-based tourism industry. While the idea of community-based tourism has become quite popular, the reality is that the vast majority of the revenue never reaches the community and its impact on development has fallen far short of original expectations. Sebastián is helping these communities to organize themselves and is providing them with financing and training. They are retaining a larger percentage of tourism revenues, which in turn, gives them firmer control of their path to economic development.

There are three crucial ingredients to Sebastián’s success. First, he links communities to each other to form a regional and, ultimately, national network of community-based tourism initiatives. He then provides them with training and most importantly, helps them access various sources of funding to finance their facilities. Next, Sebastián has formed a network of similar organizations in various countries, each organized and controlled by local community networks.

Finally, Sebastián launched as a global tour operator and online reservations and information platform to make local communities more accessible to travelers around the world. Travolution is a not-for-profit social business which will be operating in a dozen countries within three to four years and its online platform will not only be a traditional reservations site, but will contain information like a travel advisors site, but written and maintained by the local communities.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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