Have you ever arrived in a city and wanted to participate in experiences that you know are benefitting the local community in a positive way? It happens to me almost every time I arrive in a new city. I jump on to Google only to find the most popular tourist attractions or tours run by corporations who take huge profit margins.
As a responsible traveller, I want to participate in experiences where I know that my money is going directly to the people who need it most. I want to take the backstreets, meet the locals and explore the city through their eyes. These are the kind of travel experiences that provide an in-depth discovery of the places you are exploring, and I Like Local is showcasing these experiences through their online directory of impactful activities.
Across Asia and Africa, from Kathmandu to Kigali, I Like Local showcases immersive travel experiences directed by locals themselves. This means that 100% of the money asked by the local hosts is directly paid to them.
Sanne, the founder, started I Like Local with a passion to connect travellers with local experiences that make an impact.
“Throughout my travels, I came to realize that my most memorable experiences were from my encounters with local people. It was this personal connection, the insight into the local culture and learning something about the country I was travelling in that made it memorable.
The more I talked to other travellers, the more I realised I was not alone in feeling this way. Besides this, I noticed that tourism was a strong economic driver and a source of income for many people in emerging countries. Nevertheless, most of the wealth does not reach people on the ground but stays on the top. I wanted to create a platform that helped this wealth get distributed more fairly.” – Sanne, I Like Local
Since founding the platform, Sanne has been able to empowere hundreds of individuals to earn money and benefit from tourism in their countries.
Last year I participated in a Delhi street walk tour that supports former street children in India. I Like Local features the tours run by NGO Salaam Baalak Trust, providing employment opportunities to marginalised youth and former street children. You can read about my experience here.
Another unique experience available on the platform is the chance to spend some days with the nomadic seafarers of Thailand, the Moken people, forced to live within the boundaries of the Koh Surin National Park as a result of modern environmental changes. This community-based tourism experience provides an important supplementary income for the Moken people and helps them to preserve their traditions on the oceans. Guests can learn to row a traditional Moken wooden Chaban boat and snorkel in the crystal clear waters of Surin Island while learning Moken traditions, including their medicinal use of local flora.
“To learn about the Moken culture from the Moken people themselves is to feel like you are part of something good, something reciprocal. It is vastly different than walking through their village as a gawking spectator with one of the big tour groups. They are gentle, shy and vastly wise about the region. We have much to learn from them. Time in the village and snorkelling with Moken guides were equally unforgettable.” – The Lolley family, US
The platform is open for locals to register their experiences and is vetted by a few simple rules including that the activity or company registering needs to be owned by a local and should be able to show how the local community benefit. If you are a company or know of anyone who could benefit from joining the platform you can register using this link.
It’s platforms like I Like Local that really help to bridge the gap between cultures and allow us, travellers, to make a positive impact on the people and places we visit.
For the full directory of experiences, you can follow this link.
Listen to my podcast interview with Sanne on the link below.