Justice Travel is a social travel startup that aims to build a bridge between travelers who are looking for meaningful experiences and local leaders in need of aid to help transform underprivileged areas. They don’t define themselves as a travel agency. Rather, they combine the best attributes of a regular travel company with the expertise of knowledgeable advocacy representatives. In this way, they create custom experiences based on the interest of the traveler while also monitoring communities that face development and human rights challenges in various countries.
Their aim? To dismiss the idea of tourism being solely an economic activity, and installing the notion that tourism can be about living a transformative experience that directly benefits people in a purposeful way. In other words, they offer the chance to turn travelers from visitors into active promoters of justice.
Currently, Justice Travel offers short and long tours in Guatemala, Mexico, and Colombia. They carefully select their initiatives only after months of investigation and preparation. In Colombia, for instance, the 14-day tour includes a visit to Iconozo to meet former FARC guerrilla members and to the fragile region of Cauca, where peace efforts are strong and ongoing. There, the traveler meets leaders of human rights movements and learns firsthand what is really going on and what they can do to help. Gabriel Tobias, founder of Justice Travel, explains: “It’s all about facilitating personal connections with the people while ensuring a safe and engaging travel experience.”
Justice Travel has two impact goals. Firstly, 30% of all profits go straight to the partners at each destination to support development projects and human rights efforts. Second, they aim to help every traveler, once they go back to their hometown, become an advocate for the communities they visited. That way, they create a link that transcends the trip itself and becomes an active movement in favor of peace and justice. They promote what they call “hyper-conscious travel,” where people who are looking for this kind of meaningful experience become part of a network committed to changing the world, even from afar. As Gabriel says: “We believe that using the world of travel for transformative objectives is possible. With Justice Travel we bring two things together: on the one hand the travelers who are looking for new experiences, and on the other, the notion of engaging travels with a new approach.”
Juan Orjuela, the Country Representative for Colombia, hopes in the future to expand their tours to new territories, and to organize specialized tours in specific regions such as the Caribbean or the Pacific Coast, while also amplifying their pedagogical potential with partners like schools and universities of the country. “We are looking to offer significant experiences that make a difference, while creating a new narrative about Colombia,” Orjuela says. They hope that, in 2019, they will be able to offer tours in places like Puerto Rico, Sri Lanka and Brazil in order to expand their acts of goodwill.
Here’s where Justice Travel stands out the most: they are not organizers, they are true supporters of local leaders – or “heroes” as some might call them. It’s social tourism with a humanitarian boost and a real opportunity to make a trip an enriching and transformative experience. Justice Travel is a platform to reinvent yourself, but also an invitation to reshape the social reality around you.
You can check out their website for more information about tours and programs or contact representatives directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.