Justin Perumal of Wild Routes runs two successful businesses that offer tourists a slightly different view of Durban and its people.
DURBAN - When Justin Perumal woke up in the middle of the night, the words “personality-based travel” rang in his head, so he wrote the thought down.

Perumal went on to open his first innovative Ballito-based tourism business, Paper Jet, which focuses on just that, designing and marketing tours to explore Durban and KwaZulu-Natal for various personality types.

Perumal, 34, grew up in Durban and studied strategy and global marketing at Reading University in the UK where he lived and worked for nine years before returning to South Africa and opening his business.

Among the tours Paper Jet offers are trips tailor-made for people such as “the academic, the explorer, the connoisseur, the hipster and the tourist” with the aim of offering travellers something outside the norm.

He designed the tours together with a friend who is a clinical psychologist.

“We source products, accommodation and activities and categories according to personality types,” he said.

He works directly with tour operations to bring tourists from the UK, the US, Western Europe and South East Asia to explore the city.

Perumal opened his second tourism business last year, Wild Routes, which also approaches tourism from a different perspective, offering tourists a “transformative experience” that connects them to the place they are visiting.

Inspired by an old book that he picked up one day, “Durban at your feet - an alternative guide to a city” by Barend van Niekerk, Perumal set about offering tourists a different way to explore the city.

“We have sourced interesting people around the city who are doing interesting things and we have them as guest speakers who feature on our tours,” Perumal said.

Among the speakers are anthropologist, Luleka Jakeni, a senior museologist at the Killie Campbell Museum and Glenwood street artist, Daniel Chapman, well-known as Mook Lion.

“The idea is to reimagine how travellers connect with the city and province in a more imaginative and immersive way because otherwise people can go to Durban, Joburg and Cape Town and meet just three people, their tour guides,” Perumal said.

His businesses operate two 12-seater vehicles and two sedans and he employs four tour guides and an administrative staff member.