Welcomingtours was founded on private initiative in July 2015 and published in August 2015 as a platform for integration of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants. Our original goal was to aid refugees with their arrival and integration with their new environment. Therefore, locals, who we call “Welcomers”, went on walks with refugees in order for them to get an impression of their new envirmonment, the “country and people” and to train the German language. Several “Welcoming Tours” and numerous discussions with a variety of people have led to reconsideration and to sharpen the profile of Welcomingtours:
- Welcomingtours should not be exclusive to refugees. They should also be available to asylum-seekers and migrants, also citizens with an immigration background who have been living in Austria for years but have little or no contact to local people. To participate all people must be aged 18 years old or over for data protection reasons.
- A Welcomingtour doesn’t have to be a singular event between two parties, it can help with initiating a lasting long-term-relationship. The basic idea is going on a walk together, which can, subsequently, lead to an individually created relationship. How deeply these relationships develop depends on the time ressources available to the participants as well as the chemistry beween them. Much is possible, nothing mandatory.
- Welcomers don’t need to stay just Welcomers. They can be language-tandem partners or friends. All participants can choose freely when, how frequently and how to fashion their meetings. For those seeking more frequent meetings and deeper relationships, further activities by Welcomingtours as well as our partners are available.
- A Welcomingtour doesn’t have to be a walk around town. It can be an invitation to an event, to go shopping together, cooking and dining, …
What counts is to establish a connection between people!
Welcomingtours’ mission is to enhance the integration of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants by connecting them with residents. Our goals are:
- Friendly and inviting reception/integration of refugees, asylum-seekers and citzens with a migrational background in Austria. Relaying and advancement of Austria’s laws and culture of values.
- Thereby orientation and information about living together in Austria, Austria’s society, laws and regulations are foregrounded.
- Advancing of inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue and therefor the exchange between Austrians and people from all over the world in order to dispel prejudices and build bridges.
- Advancing and aiding in the learning of the German language so that participation in social and economic life is feasible.
Welcomingtours’ vision is to achieve an understanding for the need of integration, a respectful sense of togetherness and a fundamental feeling of empathy. Regardless of origin, culture or sexual orientation, human beings should meet each other at eye level and respect one another. Welcomingtours is a tried and tested example for successful coexistence and ought to be utilized intensely in Austria. Together with cooperating partners and communities, programs shall be developed which are useful for the persons concerned and also ensure lasting integration.