Startup makes it easy for foreigners to tour Vietnam with natives

By Pham Van   June 26, 2018 | 06:48 pm PT
Startup makes it easy for foreigners to tour Vietnam with natives
Tourists visit Ninh Binh Province with the service provided by Tubudd. Photo by Tubudd
Young Vietnamese woman creates a platform for travelers to experience life and culture in a way that the locals do.

Vu Thi Thai An, 27, loves travelling.

The young woman has set foot on 15 countries, and done it on her own.

Her penchant for solo travel has given An an understanding of what travelers actually need and she’d always cherished a dream to develop a network that can help people indulge in their passion to explore places in the most “truthful” way possible.

This thought inspired An to create Tubudd, a digital platform that connects travelers with locals who can work as tour guides, so that travelers can experience life and culture in the way locals do.

An felt traveling with tourism agencies has several disadvantages, like high costs and restricting schedule. Most of the time, tourists have to follow plans designed by those agencies.

''I traveled alone to France, Italy, Switzerland and some other parts of Europe and it was not that expensive. I was lucky enough to meet friendly locals and make friends with them.

“Thanks to them, I could experience their indigenous activities, and have the most truthful experience of the people and culture…,” said An, who spent four years studying and working in the event management industry in England.

Travel buddy

Tubudd was launched in July, 2017. An’s co-founders were Anthony Cruickshank and Ethan Dang of Manchester, England.

Four months later, she brought the company to Vietnam.

“Vietnam is famous for its friendly people and unique culture but tourism has not been able to take off, and the fact that many service providers usually rip off tourists have given Vietnamese tourism a more or less bad reputation.

“Meanwhile, there are many Vietnamese who are active and friendly, and willing to become a travel companion to help visitors understand Vietnam and its people,” An said.

To use Tubudd, customers can use the website or its mobile app, choose a destination and book a local tour guide.

Activities during the trip depend on the hobbies and taste of customers, whether it is to visit museums and historic sites or go on picnics and food tours.

“Tubudd tour guides have to pass strict selection rounds in English proficiency and knowledge of culture and history. They also have to submit letters of recommendation…," said An.

Information about the tour guides are publicized on the app and the Tubudd website.

The network is now available in 11 cities and provinces in Vietnam and 19 others around the world.

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