Very Local Trip Takes Tourists Off The Beaten Track

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We spoke to Maxime Besnier, founder & CEO of Very Local Trip, to find out what makes tourists feel like a local and what's next for the travel industry.

How would you describe Very Local Trip in a few words?

Very Local Trip is a platform for alternative tourism that connects travelers seeking personalized and authentic experiences, with passionate ‘local friends’ in Asia.

What inspired you to create the platform? How did it all start?

I am passionate about traveling and I’ve been living in Asia for over 7 years. 3 years ago, I realized that a lot of people were contacting me, looking for something nice to visit, off the beaten track. That made me realize that the best way to discover a country or a city, is to spend time with local people by going off the beaten track instead of doing it the touristic way.

I thought: “How can I create a business model that solves the problem of tourists that don’t want to feel like a tourist?” And I came up with the solution.

Authentic travel experiences are a very individual matter. How would you define the term and what can people expect when traveling with you?

Our goal is to make it easier for travelers to escape the typical tourist spots. Our one-on-one ‘like a friend’ approach is different from the traditional tourism industry with conventional tour operators and such. This makes our ‘local trips’ more sincere, personalized and authentic – more ‘experiential’ and ’emotional’ I would say.

Personalized travel is gaining pace as more and more people aim to experience their destination like a local. What makes the people you work with ‘local experts’ and how do they contribute to experiences?

Our “strength” is to work only with passionate, knowledgeable ‘local friends’, who really love their city. Most of them are not travel professionals but journalists, bloggers, chefs, farmers, photographers, weavers, artists, etc. Thus, what we offer are not only a tour but more an ‘immersive’ local experience.

The competition in the travel sector is fierce. What makes Very Local Trip stand out of the crowd? What is the key differentiator?

Our key differentiator is to offer a brand new way of thinking, required to supplement traditional tours and attractions with a new range of experiences provided by non-travel professionals.

Very Local Trip has not emerged from the established travel industry. I am myself not coming from this industry, and it seems to me that we naturally understand the need of modern travelers, frustrated at how the industry works and how slowly it changes.

In your opinion, what’s next for the tourism industry? What should be the main focus?

In my opinion, it is crucial to develop a ‘community-based tourism’ approach and integrate the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of development by enhancing the capacities of locals (artisans, farmers etc.) to promote and conserve cultural and environmental heritage including arts, crafts, agriculture.

What is the most memorable moment throughout the history of Very Local Trip?

I have a lot of wonderful memories with Very Local Trip, but one of the most memorable moment was a trip with local communities in the off-the-beaten-path city of Sakon Nakhon in Northeastern Thailand. This experience was surreal, like a dream – where the tradition of indigo is not just a way to dye clothes; it’s an entire way of life. I am so proud that Very Local Trip started this collaboration with local people and is actually the only company offering this amazing and unique experience in this wonderful region.




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