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Social impact experience: learning from refugee teachers
Blog, Tours
Social impact experience: learning from refugee teachers
12 December, 2017 at 3:19 pm 0
We just launched a set of new experiences in our platform: workshops with refugee teachers, as part of Abrazo Cultural project.
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Amsterdam truly has a little something for everyone
Blog, Tours
Amsterdam truly has a little something for everyone
5 September, 2017 at 9:00 am 0
The city of Amsterdam has a reputation. Your mind may conjure up images of canals… or maybe even “coffeeshops” or the city’s infamous Red Light District.  But this only accounts for a small part of Amsterdam’s story. After visiting for the first time earlier this year, I quickly realized (in the span of a long weekend) that Amsterdam might be one of my favorite cities. I absolutely loved the unique brickwork, the gorgeous expansive canals, the rich history, great food, and general amiable disposition of the people. (more…)
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London: between a rich ancient history and a modern metropolis
Blog, Tours
London: between a rich ancient history and a modern metropolis
22 August, 2017 at 8:42 am 0
The atmosphere in London is contagious. In no other city can you experience such a unique balance between rich, ancient history, and a modern, contemporary metropolis. There is a feeling of refinement that only comes from a strong foundation in tradition, and a youthful energy easily found in the city’s art, music, and food scene, each side working in blissful harmony that you have to experience to fully understand. (more…)
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Blog, Tours
Alternative Tours
26 September, 2016 at 7:00 am 0
When tourists visit a new city or country and are keen to learn about the local sights and history, the most common option is to seek out a tour company or guided group experience to lead them around. While these kinds of tours are well-intentioned, they often have to appeal to a broad group and thus they lack the intimate, casual, and local knowledge that you'd learn if you were simply being shown around by a friend who lives in that city. Authenticitys is a tourism social enterprise, but it’s more importantly an organization that’s rooted in education. If our users can go on a trip and not only learn, but also have their biases and preconceptions changed by what they see, we believe this not only creates more meaningful trips, but has the potential to change the world. With this in mind, we have been a driving force behind a new trend of tours run by vulnerable, formerly homeless, and/or migrants in cities across Europe. Pro-Refugee Rally, XXI (more…)
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Blog, Tours
Eat Local
12 September, 2016 at 7:00 am 0
How to plug into a local food scene when you travel One of the biggest motivators to get on a plane and travel across the world is the food you’ll eat when you get there. Whether it’s sushi in Japan, pasta in Italy, or patisserie in France, the dishes we’ve tried and tasted at home can taste entirely different when consumed in the place of their provenance. However, one of the challenges of landing in a new city without much local knowledge is that it can be harder to eat as well as you’re able to at home. In the absence of knowing what’s good, what’s overrated, and what’s in season you can end up relying on the kind of cliche advice that’s designed for tourists, not foodies. After all, if a restaurant has a sign boasting “Authentic Paella” or “Grandmother’s spaghetti,” chances are that locals wouldn’t eat there. And if you’re interested  not just in eating well but in getting to know about the local ingredients, agro-ecology, growing season, food culture, and terroir of a place, it can be even harder to find advice that goes beyond the obvious. Whether you’re aiming to eat cuisine cooked with local ingredients or simply eat as a local would, there are various ways that you can plug into a local food scene when you arrive in a city, whether it’s just for a weekend or a couple of weeks. Life of Siti Khadijah Market III
  • Cook yourself from a market: A visit to a farmers’ market or open air market can be one of the best ways to find out what’s in season and what locals are eating. If you’re able to speak the language, ask vendors what they recommend this time of year. Seek out markets that feature local farmers’ produce and/or organic food. While it can be a little extra work to cook in your rented apartment or accommodation, it can be one of the cheapest and most direct ways to taste the kinds of flavours you’d never come across at home. (more…)
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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, Tours
Shop Local
4 July, 2016 at 7:00 am 0
“When you buy from a small business, you’re not helping a CEO buy his 3rd holiday home. You’re helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy his team jersey, moms and dads put food on the table. Shop local.”
This simple quote about the shop local movement sums up one of the driving motivators behind Authenticitys: we believe that what you spend your money on is what you choose to empower. When it comes to travel, we’re passionate about giving urban travelers the opportunities to spend their money on businesses and initiatives that make communities better, rather than ones that make large international conglomerates richer. Local shop (more…)
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