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Interview

Blog, Interview, Tours
Iñigo (Go Local San Sebastian)
22 August, 2016 at 7:00 am 0
Tell me about yourself: a bit about your personal story, how you got to where you are now. I studied tourism and my first job was being a receptionist in the Pyrenees. I realized I liked interacting with people but our interactions felt very artificial. I wanted something more real. Later on, after being a tour guide for a while, I started making an itinerary and selling excursions myself… I started studying Tarragona, Reus, and other places in the area, so on my days off I would take people to these tours and show them the place as if they were my friends. I wasn’t doing it for money. They could buy me a beer there if they wanted. That’s how I realized I liked showing and explaining different places to people.  Then, after being away for two years, I wanted to go back to San Sebastian, and work in my home country. When I first came I was freelancing, and the lifestyle of a freelancer is a bit lonely. So I wanted to create a group that I could work together with. At that time I got together with Alain… to start an association of tour guides. That was 4 years ago. Eventually, we had to turn the association into a proper company—mostly for administrative reasons—so  in the end, we created Go Local. Our main idea is ‘Donostia by locals’ - break barriers, be hosts, be less formal, have more real conversations.
Iñigo (© by Go Local San Sebastian)

Iñigo (© by Go Local San Sebastian)

Lierni, Iñigo & Iñigo (© by Go Local San Sebastian)

Lierni, Iñigo & Iñigo (© by Go Local San Sebastian)

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Blog, Interview, Tours
Doru Raduta (Interesting Times Bureau)
8 August, 2016 at 7:00 am 0
Tell me about yourself: a bit about your personal story, how you got to where you are now. At college I studied political science. I took the opportunity to work in IT and IT distribution…where you could make a lot of money in Romania. Then I became a video game distributor for Nintendo. I did that for 10 years, but then the market crashed and Nintendo moved out of the country. So I was out of business, without a job. But it was actually good, as I wanted something new in my life. I spent 6 months tying to figure out what I wanted to do. I looked into alternative tourism, which no one was doing in Bucharest. So I thought: why not me?  One thing led to another. My idea was about developing alternative tourism in Bucharest. A lot of urban alternative tours are based on street-art.  But the problem is that in Bucharest there are not so much street-art to show to tourists… like Berlin for example.  So I thought, why not combine the two things and take both tasks on. Use my resources to first improve Bucharest, paint street art for example, so tourists have something to see. So we started the Street Art project. We invite local artists, but also some internationals.  It is going slower than I expected though… not because of money, but because city authorities or owners of the buildings themselves are not being collaborative. In Romania street art is still considered vandalism. So we’re fighting this mentality.  I do believe we will succeed. For example now in July, we’re starting a new project to paint the wall of the University of Architecture. The whole point is to make the city colorful. Another thing to note is that tourism can also have a negative effect on a city. Barcelona for example has a big problem with this. We have 5% of the amount of tourists that Barcelona has, so we have time to prepare. Let’s already set up a system that can deal with tourism when it grows. So when it happens, the damage is not so high. We should be happy that we have time to plan and time to set up. We can learn from cities like Berlin and Barcelona, so that we can be smarter.

Doru Raduta (© by Interesting Times Bureau)

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Blog, Interview, Tours
Anna Alaman (Open Eyes Project)
25 July, 2016 at 7:00 am 1
Tell me about yourself: a bit about your personal story, how you got to where you are now. I come from a marketing background. I was a product manager for 8-9 years. When I was 21 years old I came to India, working for a company developing portfolio of home products, doing import and export in Asia. That was 14 years ago, and was my first contact with India. After I worked 8-9 years, I took a break for 2 years to explore more cultures. I was in different countries in Europe and worked there, and also went to Central America. After that I went back to BCN, and because I wasn’t happy with my career, I started thinking of my own business with a social impact. I discovered social business around that time. The idea stuck to me. It is not to run an NGO based on philantrophy,but unlike traditional business, a social business operates for the benefit of addressing social needs. So I combined tourism and social impact. At that time I didn’t know anything about social tourism. 5 years ago I decided to come back to India because I felt responsible for this country. It was just a feeling I had, hard to explain. So I quit my job in 2011 and came to India with this idea of a social tourism business. I started meeting people, communities, and designing activities for engagement. I did some tours in North India, designing activities with the communities there, visiting the cities, meeting NGOs, and all that added up to design these tours that we have now. After that I went back to BCN and did all the promotion and raised awareness around the tours. I had no financial budget, so I started with a blog. And this was how the first two groups started. The first 2 years I was between India and Barcelona, but later I decided we needed to consolidate the company and create a solid structure and team. I thought this is how our work could remain strong in the future. So I came to live in India although I had never thought that I would live in Delhi.  In fact, when I came here 21 years old, I thought I could never live in this country. It hasn´t been easy, but I’m very happy after 5 years. I’m focused on my work designing tours, building local partnerships and raising awareness in responsible tourism. This year we initiated the first pavilion in Responsible Tourism in one of the biggest travel shows in Mumbai and Delhi. We are proud of it. Delhi is also the best place to network, build a team, meet communities, and do the tours. I’m always trying to improve. Actually it was 2 years ago that I realized what we were doing was called responsible tourism. Then, I joined the MSc in Responsible Tourism in the International Centre in Responsible Tourism in Leeds (UK) where I’m still alumni to research and learn. It has opened a new door for me and Open Eyes.
(© by Open Eyes Project)

(© by Open Eyes Project)

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Blog, Interview, Tours
Arma Kleinepier (MadWay Madrid)
11 July, 2016 at 7:00 am 2
Tell me about yourself: a bit about your personal story, how you got to where you are now. I came to Madrid 8 years ago for a Spanish love interest, and then developed a love for Spain and for Madrid… and I stayed. Prior to that, I had spent a gap year in Latin America after working as a leisure tourism and art consultant in Amsterdam. In that latter role, our clients required that we were always very creative in finding what made places attractive. That gave me an eye for finding places a bit off the beaten track.  I applied all that experience when I arrived in Madrid. At the time, it seemed like all the tourism offers in Madrid were very traditional, focusing on the typical highlights, and I thought Madrid had a lot more to offer than that. The experiences I offer are experiences that you wouldn’t find among the typical highlights in the guidebooks. We come in when you want to discover Madrid from the locals’ point of view. I started with three tours: industrial architecture bicycle tour, rooftop walking tour, and an underground tour, through the metro system. That was 7 years ago.
Arma Kleinpier (MadWay)

Arma Kleinepier (© by MadWay)

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Blog, Interview, Tours
Diego Jenzer (Pink Tours)
27 June, 2016 at 8:10 am 0
Tell me about yourself: a bit about your personal story, how you got to where you are now. I’m originally from Switzerland, but always travelled and moved to different places, so I think I always saw places with different eyes. When I moved to London I thought something was missing here, especially for the LGBT community. I am bisexual myself, and in London I had the impression that people are not as warm as they’re in Brazil.  In 2013 I was talking to my best friend who did tours for Brazilians visiting London, many of whom were LGBTQ. He made me realize that there was something missing for gay tourists in London, and in 2014 I started developing the idea of Pink Tours. I wanted to create an experience particularly for LGBT tourists, but I wanted this experience to be more than just tours. I didn’t want to start a business just to start a business. I wanted to start a business that was meaningful for me, and that I knew I would be doing for a long time. So I decided to put together 3 things that I love: Tours, Community and Technology. This second one is especially important for me as I suffered a lot of bullying and prejudice in my childhood, and I wanted to create a company to help people who suffer prejudice of any kind.
Diego Jenzer

Diego Jenzer (© by Pink Tours)

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