By Charlotte Thun-Hohenstein
If you happen to be in Serbia, and in the mood for ice cream, you may want to hit up Baki. His family owns the best ice cream store in the country, and has done so for 170 years. He will cook you a meal, and then teach you how to make the family’s “secret” ice cream recipe.
If it sounds like the ideal alternative to overpriced and underwhelming tourist traps, that is exactly the goal of Purple Dinner, easiest described as the Airbnb for food. It’s one of the sharing economy’s many new member companies that are part of the growing trend in local tourism. Nowadays, travel doesn’t just mean leaving your own local habitat, but living like a local wherever you end up.
It turns out that this trend makes for good business. In spite of economic struggles, the local tourism industry has only grown (up 5.1 percent in 2013). Forbes has identified it as a “hottest trend” for 2015 travel, and who wouldn’t want home-cooked meals and insider tips? The popularity has not come without costs, however. Airbnb, arguably one of local tourism’s mainstays, is facing some steep lawsuits in New York City for infringing (local) housing laws. The biggest point of contention is that in New York it’s illegal to rent out an apartment for less than 30 days unless the owner is present. Airbnb is staying elusive on their statistics, but anyone can see that this regulation essentially defeats the point of the business.
This week Jess Goulart, host of BTR’s Twenty-Something Traveler, joined BreakThru News to talk about her latest finds (check out Spotted By Locals). Jess is unfazed by the Airbnb developments, seeing the broader embrace of local tourism as unstoppable. Step one for anyone visiting New York City over New Year’s: avoid Times Square.
Host, Writer – Charlotte Thun-Hohenstein
Video Editor – Andy Morell
with guest – Jess Goulart