Recently launched goetica is the first ever full service ethical travel search online platform. It’s also the first search engine that offers you options for travelling with your cat or dog. Matija Agbaba is one of goetica’s founders. He lives and works in Mallorca.
When you search for flights or accommodation, goetica looks through all the airlines and major booking sites like Airbnb and Expedia to offer you the best deals. With flights, you can choose the option with the lowest CO2 emission option as well as cost. The platform receives a commission from vendors when you book that it distributes to the charities it supports after taking out its running costs.
As a Community Interest Company (CIC), goetica is legally bound by UK government regulations to share a minimum of 65% of its profits with animal charities. Key to its mission is the humane control of stray cats and dogs through neutering or spaying. The platform is also hoping to provide rabies shots to help reduce deaths from rabies, which mainly kills children in developing countries.
On top of this, goetica shares roughly 10% of its profits with organizations like WWF, International Animal Rescue and Humane Society International to help with emergency animal rescue projects and wildlife preservation around the world. In January, the company is donating all earnings to wildlife relief in Australia and the founders are matching this.
As goetica raises its profile and grows its following, the goal is to focus on speeding up the technology and adding more amazing features.
I spoke to Matija about goetica and its pioneering mission.
Can you tell me how the idea for goetica came about, Matija?
In 2016, when my wife Nina and I relocated from London to Palma to start Sea Yogi Palma, our boutique yoga gear shop in Santa Catalina that works with sustainable, eco-friendly brands, we wanted to bring our cat Umeshu with us. I had to search manually for airlines that would allow pets in the cabin, which cost time and money. I thought there had to be an easier way.
On my travels around the world, I’d also become acutely aware of the plight of stray cats and dogs.
Before moving to Mallorca, I’d worked in the digital industry. So I had the know-how and contacts to build a platform that enabled people to find pet-friendly travel options instantly. I invited Elvin Jamakosmanovic and Carlos De Aguilar to partner with me to create goetica. We were supported by a hardworking, committed team of ethically conscious freelancers and micro-agencies.
How much of goetica’s business is physically in Mallorca?
For now, we encourage remote working as part of our culture and to keep costs down. In future, we hope to have an office space in Mallorca, supported by the parent company.
Why do you like living in Mallorca?
Mallorca is simply the most magical island when you get off the tourist track – the forests, surfing, diving, cycling in villages – and a fantastic place to raise a family. There’s much to admire about the Mallorcan belief in family bonds and ties and putting family commitments before work. The culture is also amazing, as are many of the traditions Mallorcans hold dear. Mallorca’s very similar to Croatia, where I’m from, and the island I grew up on.
And, for some reason, this island constantly attracts inventors, yogis, creatives and like-minded souls. I meet amazing people every day.
Is there any way goetica can contribute to changing tourism in Mallorca?
In future, we’d love to encourage sustainable accommodation options and offer cycle, electric cycle and electric car rental options. For now, we’ll soon be providing guidelines to renting the most CO2-efficient vehicle possible.
My personal goal in relation to Mallorca is to find ways of empowering refugees by training them in aspects of what goetica does.
What does goetica do to help cats, dogs and animals in need in Mallorca?
We’ve chosen an organization called Baldea which has a mobile vet clinic and helps to sterilise cats around the island. Anyone living in Mallorca will tell you the situation with stray cats is problematic. Baldea works hard and with limited funding to humanely reduce the population.
So, people living in Mallorca who use goetica can help Baldea just by booking their travel and accommodation with us.
What other notable ethical businesses can you recommend in Mallorca?
It’s important to differentiate between ethical and social enterprises. Unlike the UK, the current Spanish company setup does not cater for social enterprises. This is why we founded our company in Scotland.
Cleanwave and Seabins, which was started in Mallorca, come immediately to mind. NU is a plastic-free supermarket. Totally Gutted offers hand-crafted fermented food and drink. Viveco is a store in Alaro that offers a really wide range of products. I’d also like to mention our own Sea Yogi in Palma. Generally, Mallorca is fantastic for organic and local produce as well as vegan and vegetarian restaurants.
Yoga is an important part of the goetica story, right?
Yoga played a huge part in making goetica happen. My yoga community and regular practice at Earth Yoga in Palma gave me the support and energy to make my dream a reality. Apart from the quality of the teaching and the great space in which to practice, Earth is the perfect place to find your way into this island’s community of open-minded activists and thinkers doing really exciting things.
Go to goetica next time you’re booking a flight, train, bus, car or hotel or just to find out more about how you can support the platform.