Tours to Bring Us Together

MEJDI Tours

15. Life on Land 16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions 17. Partnerships for the Goals

Overview

MEJDI Tours is a full-service, values-based tour company differentiating itself from the crowd through exclusive access, authentic experiences, extraordinary customer service, and much more. MEJDI Tours connects the world through travel. When you tour with MEJDI, you see that we are all connected by shared values that cross cultures, languages, religions, nationalities, and ethnicities. MEJDI Tours shows their clients that there is far more that unites us than separates us.

Author

Mary Kathryn Barnard

Mary Kathryn Barnard

School

University of Tennessee

University of Tennessee

Professor

Emily Landry

Emily Landry

Innovation

MEDJI Tours is a service created to unite all nationalities, backgrounds, and ethnicities while remaining socially and environmentally friendly.

This emerged by a thought that two friends, who would soon turn partners, had one day. Scott Cooper and Aziz Abu Sarah had been friends for years. Both have a background in and have experienced working in conflict regions around the world. One day, a thought emerged. The thought was that if there was a way to “connect people in these conflict zones, maybe it can be done on a larger scale.” Scott and Aziz partnered up and this thought quickly led to the creation of MEJDI Tours.

When creating MEDJI Tours, Scott and Aziz had very different roles. Aziz dealt with a lot more of the content of the work. He would “go to the places MEDJI would work in, deal with what kind of experiences clients were going to do, find people the clients would meet on the tours, decide which tour guides would lead certain tours, and train the people in these different nations.” On the other hand, Scott dealt with much more of the structure of the business, the administration, and the finances. Aziz mentioned that “being able to focus on both gave us a lot more strength because neither of us wanted to do the work of the other.” Aziz goes on to explain the importance of this, and how this experience made him realize that having a partner who has strengths you do not have is very helpful. It “helps the company be seen in more than one lens, it helps conversations, and helps find the weaknesses.”

This values-based approach to tourism has a strong mission, purpose, and meaning. MEJDI Tours is devoted to uniting our world and breaking down barriers. Through MEDJI Tours, clients see the world from a completely new perspective. This new perspective is not forced on the clients but is slowly formed throughout the tour through various excursions, conversations, and experiences. Regarding the UN global goals, number 16 is directly addressed in that, "peace, justice, and strong institutions" are promoted through meaningful travel experiences supported by the company.

Tours to Bring Us Together

Inspiration

MEJDI Tours was founded on the belief that “tourism should be a vehicle for a more positive and interconnected world.” MEJDI translates to “honor” and “respect”. MEJDI Tours encourages their clients to see the world from a new perspective, and to treat others and their history with honor and respect.

At the time MEJDI Tours was in the works of becoming created, “over 1 billion people traveled internationally each year, and even more were traveling within their countries.” This inspired Scott and Aziz to find a way to make a positive impact from something so many people are involved in and interests them.

Overall impact

Being a business with such a strong mission and drive for what they do has helped MEDJI Tours attract more customers and remain successful. Aziz Abu Sarah explains that MEDJI Tours could have been a non-profit, but “if you are a nonprofit, people try to find what your goal is exactly. As a business, people don’t see your agenda supporting a side versus a side. They understand your goal is to make profit and remain transparent.”

MEJDI Tours brings people together and allows them to see things from a new perspective. Aziz explains that on their Jerusalem tour, there are 2 tour guides. One of the tour guides is Aero-Palestinian and the other is an Israeli Jew. In history, we are taught about the conflict between these two groups. While the tour guides do not always agree on everything and have different views on certain topics, Aziz explains that “it is the fact that you put two people, who in the world’s eyes are enemies, working together already changes people’s perceptions before even starting the tour. Some of the travelers come in having very strong views and as they go through the trip, it may not change their opinion on who they support but it changes their perception of the ones they saw as the enemy.” This realization is what is uniting our society. MEDJI Tours is able to open the minds of their clients, and quickly see how they see the “enemy” as a new person. Aziz mentions that on these tours you can “see the treatment of the 'enemy' changing, you can sometimes see the struggle they go through as they are changing; you can see the conversations and the questions they are asking change.” MEJDI Tours does this in many different locations. It sounds so simple and yet it breaks so many barriers.

There is something to be said when you can already see change occurring within one tour. If a quick week-long trip can change the perspectives of clients, think about what is possible in the long run. With continued success, MEDJI Tours would be able to reach more people and more destinations to carry out their mission of connecting people, breaking down stereotypes, and creating friendships that are unlikely through travel.

Business benefit

The idea of sustainable tours attracts customers to MEDJI Tours because of their transparency and their strong values. Clients do not see MEDJI Tours as a supporter of a certain side, whether they see their transparency and grounded intention. This is what keeps the clients coming back. In an industry that deals with conflict resolution and peace building, it is important to remain neutral and transparent, which MEJDI Tours does perfectly.

Social and environmental benefit

MEDJI Tours is bringing society together by providing custom-made tours based on values, goals, and interests. On these tours, clients are able to see the world from a new perspective. MEDJI Tours was founded on a social and environmental responsibility, providing services to their clients while remaining sustainable.

Interview

Aziz Abu Sarah, CEO

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MEJDI Tours

MEJDI Tours

Delray Beach, US

Business Website: https://www.mejditours.com

Year Founded: 2009

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

MEJDI Tours is a certified B Corp tour company that provides customized itineraries and diverse destinations to travel groups. MEJDI Tours strives to change the face of tourism through a socially responsible business model that honors both clients and communities. MEJDI Tours rejects the model of traditional consumer tourism and employs a new model of tourism that is based on clients, communities, and financial and environmental sustainability.