There’s this really awesome concept in Europe where the walking tours are purely on tipping basis. It’s non-discriminatory; they provide good quality tours to anyone, even if they’re on a tight budget, so that these people are not shortchanged in their travel experience. I’ve been looking at the one in Madrid and guess what. It’s been suspended!
Not only that. There’s been cases of violence against innocent travelers who have spoken up against accusations surrounding the free tours. And the Spanish authorities have been indifferent to such public hostility. It is quite appalling because what have the guides done except being magnanimous in sharing their knowledge about a place selflessly? Sure, it’s not exactly a non-profit organization and the ‘official’ guides probably think they’re justified in their anger because of lost business. But business is business. When you find the store around the corner offering potential customers a better price than you are willing to give, what differentiates you from that other store? You’ve got to find that marketing (or whatever) edge to give your customers the unique experience that is going to make them unable to resist buying from your store. And the solution is not violence. So why stoop to that?
I’m not going to dispute that a free tour in the area will really give the other tours a run for their money but oh wells. The average traveler is not only running on a tight budget, he’s also pressed for time. Waste of time = less places visited = inferior experience = money wasted on his travel. In short, even the free tours have to be good to attract people.
Please save the Sandemans New Madrid free tour so it’ll resume when my grad trip comes around… I’ve already sent an email to petition.