News about the overly crowded city center of Amsterdam is more the rule than the exception. The Dutch police even warned that a too crowded Amsterdam couldn’t be saved anymore. Urban Guides could solve this problem, by offering tourists guides and experiences from locals.
Chris Hudepohl, one of the four founders of UrbanGuide, shares his thoughts during The Next Web on how tourists can experience a city through the eyes of locals.
How did you come up with the idea for UrbanGuide?
“Two of the four founders visited Budapest some time ago and ended up in the same spots since we were using Google and TripAdvisor. A friend of ours told us about the hidden gems of the city, which made our trip the worth while. We realized that we weren’t the only ones that want to experience a city in a more authentic way, through the eyes of locals. They know the sweet spots of a city, which should be accessible for a larger crowd. So, we made a platform that enables locals to create a guide for tourists. Tourists can customize this guide and download it, so they don’t have to use the internet to have a full tour.”
How can this solve the tourism drama in Amsterdam?
“If the inhabitants of Amsterdam share their favorite clubs, restaurants, museums and other cool places, chances are that tourists won’t only focus on the city center. That’s the problem with mass tourism at this moment: the city erodes because too much tourism is focused on a limited number of hotspots, such as the red light district. This of course isn’t a problem that’s exclusive to Amsterdam. We want to create a connection between the local and tourist, so they’ll get a better understanding of each other and are more inclined to help each other.”
UrbanGuide isn’t the first of its kind. What makes it as unique as a snowflake?
“Airbnb just started a tour platform, whereby they focus on the high-end market. We ask locals to write a tour, so there won’t be anyone guiding you and the connection is merely digital. And we focus more on experience rather than guiding you from A to B. We give the locals a platform to share their expertise about for instance culture, photography or night live. They’ll get the chance to shine and make money as an expert. We start by focussing on Amsterdam, but we plan to expand to more European capitals such as London, Berlin, and Paris in the coming years. We thereby made sure this won’t become a platform for business to promote their café or restaurant. Moderators will check if the tours are legit. This prevents our guide from becoming just another overly commercial pub crawl.”