Local Alike (Community based tourism development and community improvement platform)

Local Alike (Community based tourism development and community improvement platform)
Status: 
Non-elected projects
Amount: 
3000 CHF
Starting: 
July 2013
Duration: 
8 months
Applicant Name: 
Local Alike - Somsak Boonkam

Description

About Local alike:

Local alike is a community-based tourism platform developing and supporting local homestays, local tour guides, and unique local cultural activities. We connect locals offering these services with interested travelers through an online booking system and an activity database. We act as a liaison between local entrepreneurs and tourists, ensuring that both party’s expectations are met.

Problem:

Many local villagers in Thailand want to sell their products and promote their local businesses, but do not have the means to do so. Because they lack some of the necessary technology, IT, language, or education skills, they are unable to share their skills and business successfully and as a result the communities suffer. They often sell products to middlemen in surrounding areas and thus, a sustainable profit is rarely made. They do not have a consistent clientele and they lack the means to create this consistency. We hope to provide a sustainable and fair outlet for these businesses’ to promote their products and services. Currently, the problem is significantly large. We encountered a number of businesses in Thailand that lack economic gain due to the lack of resources and knowledge for marketing their services.

One business in particular is Tea Plantation in the north of Chiang Rai. The villagers offer tent camping, which situated on tent platforms overlooking the city on the slopes of the plantation. The experience this business provides is unique and enjoyable, yet they do not attract many tourists. Whether it is the location or the lack of advertising that causes this business to suffer, the local owners reached out to our team members for help. We also discovered three other businesses that are experiencing similar obstacles.

Where and how the budget will be used:

Since the projected started, we have been working with 4 pilot communities in Chiangrai, in the north of Thailand. For the rest of the year, we are aiming to expand to 5 other communities throughout Thailand. The budget will be mainly used for:

1) Helping locals develop package tours;

2) Improving their homestay conditions and;

3) Creating marketing materials such as village introduction videos through running pilot trips, as well as other related travel expenses.

Operations and process activity and description:

● Create a reliable platform for marketing local tourisms to target customers: Our platform, www.localalike.com will share all services we offer to target customers in a unique and engaging way. The website will promote local tourism services using a compelling story based on real experiences of each community. The video format will bring a sense of self to customers so that they can properly imagine cultural immersion and visiting expectations. Moreover, the website will offer all necessary information such as price, direction, available activities, guided tour information, and an online booking service platform for all the offerings.

● Build network with locals and work closely with them in setting standards and in developing their communities: the Local alike team prioritizes valuing and respecting the culture of each community above all else. We aim to work together with local people to promote their communities while preserving their heritage and unique culture. Communities that want to be listed on Local alike's website will have to ensure that their homestays meet the standard and that the hosts understand the guidelines we provide. We also work with villagers to identify any existing issues that the community is looking to solve in order to become stronger.

● Generate attractive and unique content of each community: Local alike will use a video format to deliver content and communicate between the locals and tourists. Local alike has a special campaign in which we will work with community-minded photography and filmmaking students to market these communities to the rest of the world. This activity allows students to get hands-on experience and develop content for their master portfolio, as well as providing local communities an opportunity to market themselves.

● Raise awareness amongst customers: Local alike supports and promotes educational tourism. This includes study tours for travelers, international and domestic university students (including language schools, school excursions and exchange programs), etc.. Local alike acknowledges that the best way to preserve the heritage culture of the locals, visitors must have a clear sense of what the place is and who the people are. Local alike’s ultimate goal is to educate our customers that they can travel, eat, sleep, and learn from the locals.

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