Travelade is the latest startup to bang the drum for recommendations which guide visitors down the off-the-beaten track, although its suggestion that this is an answer to “overtourism” is an interesting deviation.
Initially it will concentrate on Iceland and plans to expand globally later this year, with Norway, Cuba and Bosnia & Herzegovina mentioned as potential next steps.
The template set for Iceland is familiar – to mix content from local experts and from the team in order to offer personalised experiences to DIY millennial travellers. It has partnered with more than 150 local operators to deliver the recommended tours and activities.
Co-founders Andri Kristinsson and Hlöðver Thor Árnason are both from Iceland. Kristinsson, the CEO, has spent the past couple of years in Silicon Valley, working as a product lead for LinkedIn while Árnason, the CTO, held the same position at Iceland’s information services provider ja.is.
Iceland is an example of a destination where “overtourism” has become a concern. But Kristinsson believes that overtourism is “more of a distribution and infrastructure problem than a real problem of having too many visitors.”
His argument is that “leading incumbents in the travel space have traditionally used a one size fits all approach” and tend to steer everyone to the same places via the “Top five things to do in X” approach, and do not give visitors options outside the mainstream.
“It serves neither the traveler nor the destination to recommend the same top 5 places to every visitor. In Iceland, for example, there are countless places off the beaten path which are just as extraordinary as the most popular tourist destinations,” he said.