Our tours are priced 'per tour' not 'per person' so if there are more than 2 people on the tour we're comparably priced. And you'll have a much better experience than if you were on a bus with 50 other people.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (Vocus) July 19, 2009
The economic crisis may be taking its toll on many travel related businesses, but not everyone is suffering. Start-up company, ToursByLocals.com, is having a hard time keeping up with demand in certain markets. According to President, Paul Melhus, "In Northern European ports our St. Petersburg tours have very strong bookings and we have had to turn away customers for many dates. In other places, we can't offer tours because the available private guides are already too busy. For example, we have limited Barcelona tours as it's hard to recruit guides because they are already extremely busy".
While price is not the prime consideration for the company's customers, a private shore excursion is not necessarily more expensive than the group tours offered by the cruise line. As Melhus says, "Our tours are priced 'per tour' not 'per person' so if there are more than 2 people on the tour we're comparably priced. And you'll have a much better experience than if you were on a bus with 50 other people."
Launched in November 2008, ToursByLocals.com links travelers with local guides who offer private, customizable tours. While shore excursions for cruise ship passengers are the most popular tour offering, the company offers private guides and tours throughout the world and has an eclectic selection of tours.
Guides are encouraged to offer tours that reflect their interests and passions, while keeping in mind the needs of cruise ship passengers. Says Melhus, "Cruisers want to make good use of their shore time and visit the 'must sees', but they also want to have something different to talk about at the dinner table. So we encourage our guides to offer something out of the ordinary".
Travelers can get a good idea of the interests and expertise of a prospective guide by the tours they list on their profile. They can always contact the guide if they have a special request.
Some of the current shore excursions that go beyond the standard cruise ship itinerary include an Instanbul tour that will take you through synagogues and neighborhood of the Ottoman Jews. Or you could take one of the company's Iceland tours and spend a day on a farm with an Icelandic family. Or a Rome shore excursion that will pick you up at the cruise ship port and take you on a visit to an ancient Etruscan graveyard.
The company currently has 193 active guides and over 500 tours on their system, located throughout the world, in such places as Moscow, Russia, Bangkok, Thailand and Vancouver, Canada. They are adding new guides and tours on a daily basis.
Launched in November, 2008, ToursByLocals.com helps travelers get a better travel experience while directly benefiting the people who provide those travel experiences. Our traveler customers want to do unique things, experience the reality of a place and its culture through the eyes of a local person. They have a sense of adventure, are socially conscious and want to see their travel spending directly benefit the people who live in the communities they visit.
Our tours guides want to earn income by providing the experiences travelers are seeking. They are entrepreneurial, passionate people who are proud of the place they live. We serve those already in the travel industry as well as people who may not have been able to participate before.
We provide these services through ToursByLocals.com. The website offers a convenient way for tour guides to promote their travel services and availability and for travelers to search for suitable tours and find out how other travelers rated them. We handle the marketing of the tours, booking process, customer service, payment processing and forwarding of money onto the tour guide.
Contact: Paul Melhus
Phone: +1 604 688-0914
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