Booking.com introduces Impulse Travel, turned gang members into tourist guides
The Booking Booster program brings together start-ups, social enterprises, NGOs and accommodations of all kinds to explore together solutions that allow them to be more sustainable
Impulse Travel is a Colombian platform that in 2019 was awarded in Booking Booster, the Booking.com initiative aimed at supporting sustainable travel solutions and that will grant scholarships, this year, for 2.6 million dollars. Impulse Travel seeks, through various projects, to offer unique experiences in seven locations in Colombia, empowering local communities and giving them the possibility of transforming their lives through tourism.
One of its projects with the greatest impact is in the Egypt neighborhood. Within the city of Bogotá, Egypt was almost a sovereign state with its own rules, marked by an urban war between four gangs that divided the territory. One of its inhabitants, Jaime Roncancio or "Calabazo", from his birth he knew a life full of deficiencies, violence and crimes, but during his fifth sentence he decided to make a change in his life.
One day in jail he heard about tours in Medellin to tell the story of drug trafficking and considered that there was his future. When he received probation, he joined another ringleader in his neighborhood and decided to become tourist guides.
This is how the “Breaking Borders” project was born more than two years ago, where Jaime and former gang members make guided tours, telling his story through graffiti painted by various national artists, based on the life stories of the inhabitants of the neighborhood Egypt. For these people, tourism has become a real alternative with a lasting impact on their community.
The Booking Booster program allows initiatives such as Impulse Travel to develop their projects and help improve destinations and communities around the world. All these initiatives shape and expand the commitment that Booking.com assumed to generate a positive impact on the tourism industry. For more information on future programs and other opportunities, visit the Booking Booster program page.
The Booking Booster program brings together start-ups, social enterprises, NGOs and accommodations of all kinds to explore together solutions that allow them to be more sustainable. This year, it will consist of two complementary programs of 10 days each. One of them will be held in May for organizations with innovative products and services that help accommodation to be more sustainable. The other will occur in September and will be for the accommodations themselves, including those that are starting their way to sustainability.
Participants will have the opportunity to obtain scholarships from the fund of 2.6 million euros from the company. Beyond financing, the different ventures and accommodations will participate in practical workshops and personalized tutoring sessions, under the direction of Booking.com mentors, who will guide them and offer advice to boost their businesses.