The Pasporta Servo (English: Passport Service) is a hospitality service for Esperantists. The service publishes a directory of people from countries on every continent who are willing to host other Esperanto speakers in their homes free. Within the Esperanto culture, the annual directory is considered an important publication, second only to the Plena Ilustrita Vortaro (Unabridged Illustrated Dictionary). As of 2010, there are 1450 hosts in 91 countries.
Hosts specify how many days and how many guests can stay along with a short comment with other restrictions or interests (no smokers, bring a tent, young people especially welcome, etc.). The hosts enjoy having people from various countries stay at their homes while the guests enjoy free housing in the locations listed (although hosts may ask for reimbursement of incurred expenses). Also, guests may feel more at ease because many hosts are willing to assist with transportation and local information etc., and some also provide meals, although the only actual commitment required of all hosts is to offer overnight accommodation.
The Pasporta Servo directory is published every year by TEJO, the World Organization for Young Esperantists. Although the concept of offering hospitality to the traveler dates back to early cultures (notably ancient Greece: xenia and Viking Age Scandinavia), the idea of applying it specifically to Esperanto speakers began in 1966 in Argentina when Ruben Feldman-Gonzalez started the Programo Pasporto. Pasporta Servo in its current form was first published in 1974 with 40 hosts, under the guidance of Jeanne-Marie Cash in France. Both are still hosts in the Pasporta Servo.
The Pasporta Servo has enjoyed much use in the Esperanto movement as a means for promoting Esperanto, and is one reason why people start learning Esperanto. The official web site currently (April 2004) states: "While providing a service to Esperanto-speaking hosts and guests, at the same time it demonstrates, easily and clearly, to the outside public that Esperanto is useful and that it works in practice. [...] Many people learn Esperanto only because they want to travel by means of Pasporta Servo."
In the spring of 2009, TEJO launched Pasporta Servo 2.0, an online version of the service. According to their initial announcement in 2008, PS 2.0 is to exist in tandem with the printed version, while allowing more rapid updating of hosting information and networking features.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pasporta Servo.|