This is the section of the small
words with a big meaning
ViaVia is part of a worldwide network that
- Connects people, gets them in touch with the amazing diversity of our world, and due to this also with themselves.
- Concretises sustainable tourism and intercultural entrepreneurship as a motor for cultural and socio- economic empowerment and as source for an inclusive society.
- Contributes to a more open-minded & enjoyable world where people, planet, prosperity, partnerships, peace and pleasure are in harmony.
To contribute in a sustainable way to the dreams, needs and expectations of travelers and local partners, by creating meaningful and memorable travel and intercultural experiences.
- ‘Encounter’: requires commitment and works interactive, each from one’s own identity. It is an exchange that necessitates curiosity, active listening and empathy.
- ‘Openness’: is a willingness to try new things or to hear and consider new ideas. It is also accepting that people may think and act differently, and trying to see the difference as it is.
- ‘Equality’: putting one’s own culture in perspective is the basis for an encounter based on equality and respect. This may imply reframing one’s own values instead of holding them as universal.
- ‘Amazement’ remains the fundamental start for new encounters and discovery. It touches heart and mind, and transforms knowledge into appreciation.
Our story from X to Y
In 1968 some generation X’ers or babyboomers (discussing-saving-the-worldover-a-glass-of-vodka-kind) traveled together through mainly eastern Europe and were taken by the worldly connections and deep contacts in the midst of a changing world (Prague Spring). They dreamed big about changing the world and set out the guidelines for their legacy.
The idea of a ‘different’ travel agency was born.
In 1971 the NGO Jest, which is now Karavaan was set up. An organization for tourleaders with a strong emphasis on meeting others in a fair and open world.
You guessed right. As they were gathering speed and more knowledge, it was only just normal that they needed to mold tours befitting their philosophy of respectful travelling. In 1981, 36 friends (yes the babyboomers) put money together and set up JOKER. A travel agency offering tours that offer more than just pleasure. Tours that open the way to real encounters and push your own limits.
Generation X and Y joined the clubs and enriched the group with new inklings in the field of sustainable tourism and its implications. And with all this came a new drive for action. Travelers needed a place to share knowledge in a fun way, and who knows better than Belgians with their cafe culture?
The first ViaVia was set up in Heverlee, Belgium in May 1995. At the same time this idea of fair travel and facilitating to meet others needed an extra step. It needed to go international. In December of the same year ViaVia in Yogyakarta, Indonesia opened its doors.
ViaVia became more than just a travelers cafe. It became a meeting place for travelers and locals alike.
It became a place where all the vague talk of sustainable tourism could be implemented.
Places where you can
taste the world
Others followed quickly allover the world. Right now there are more than 10 ViaVia’s spread over 4 continents and the network keeps growing. Most of them have a restaurant and a hostel. They are places with music and art embedded in their profiles. Some are organizing tours and courses, some sell fair trade products, artisan foods and products and/or work together with social and environmental projects, etc. What they all have in common: they breath and live the hunger for a more pleasant world where people are open, knowledgable and considerate about each other’s culture and environment. They are breeding places of creativity, good world food and justness.