Especially in the recent times, traveling is often linked to terms like sustainable development, eco-friendly or green development, environmental, socio-cultural and economic sustainability etc. Leaving aside the environmental issues which are probably the most important ones (if we do not preserve anything for usage of the next generation there is no point to talk about other issues like socio cultural or economic sustainability) we will focus on economic aspects of traveling. Before we will talk about economic sustainability which is also closely connected to supporting local culture and customs – socio cultural sustainability – let´s talk about a new general trends in economy and employment – microjobs.
Unemployment rates in many countries are so high that we talk about lost generations, about the fact that rich people get richer and poor ones keep on getting poorer. It is more than clear that relying on a state support or the hope that somebody will get you a decent job is more hopeless than ever.
Therefore, micro jobs appeared on a large scale recently and they seem to be a new trend in many economies. Looking for a job but nobody wants to hire you? Get a micro job! A micro job is, as the word implies, a small paid task. The basic concept of micro jobs is to receive a small fee for a small task. Are you able to design websites, write blog posts or prepare a presentation, deliver anything, do laundry, be a virtual assistant, prepare travel itineraries or you have time to make airport pick-ups? All these tasks done for somebody can be called micro jobs.
And now let´s mix these new economic trends together, limit micro jobs only to the area of traveling and we have the topic we are going to talk now: travel micro jobs.
Importance of supporting locals via micro jobs
Let´s first define economic and socio cultural sustainability. Economic sustainability simply means keeping money local. Staying in an international chain of hotels or eating in well-know fast food restaurants will hardly bring any important benefit to locals. Well, these international companies can be large employers, but the money will likely leak abroad instead of supporting local communities.
What is also important is to promote the preservation of cultural and local traditions – socio-cultural sustainability. This can actually be achieved by locals when involved in the tourism. It brings benefits to both travelers who get true local experience and locals who keep their culture alive.
Travelers can appreciate various types of micro jobs that can be done by local people and which will maintain the economic or/and socio cultural sustainability. Some of them can be very simple and delivered virtually – e.g. giving travel advices and answering travel related questions, while others are more extensive and delivered personally like guided tours or organizing socialising events among others.
Another view on micro jobs is from the perspective of time when a micro job is consumed. Some micro jobs which would be appreciated by travelers before their departure. Every trip, travel or holiday starts with planning and more serious planning requires more time. Locals can work out a special itinerary that fits the traveler´s travel destination, needs and budget, provide a few tips about restaurants and pubs that they frequently visit, advice on how get from one place to another cheaply and efficiently, how to live like them (eat, drink, travel as a local), where to exchange money for the best rate etc. Why not to have it done just by local people who live in requested travel destination? It is time to leave the tourist guidebook alone and rely on advices from real locals.