I had a concept similar to this when I was in New Orleans. Not exactly that... but here was my concept.
Leaders in New Orleans kept saying that they understand not everyone is going to go down there to volunteer. That's fine. But right now, even the simplest tourism helps stimulate the economy.
That said, if tourists are only buying the most mass-produced goods in the French Quarter, eating at chain restaurants, getting coffee at Starbucks, purchasing their sundries at Wal*Mart - then how much are they really helping the locals? How much is just going to come mega-corporation?
So I thought it would be awesome to have a tourism organization that connects tourists with local, responsible vendors, local restaurants, local shops - the true ma & pop experience.
On a similar note, after recently going on the Ride the Ducks tour, I thought about how I could do my own version of a Seattle Tour. My factoids would be different, but there's a lot that I felt our guide missed.
Piece these concepts together - and you get my next big idea...
A tour that goes local. A tour that shows what different non-profits are spearheading in the city. A tour that shows where the soup-kitchens are. A tour that shows the most diverse neighborhoods, with immigrant populations shaping the feel. A tour that would stop at the farmer's market of the day (there are other places than Pike Place to get your produce!). A tour that really shows the face of Seattle residents. A tour that showcases independent artists, restaurants, performers, record shops, clothing stores, etc. We'd barely spend any time downtown - the tour would be a few hours long and would take you into the heart of each neighborhood.
Ok, I'm not sure that it would make a killing - but it's something I could just be passionate enough to do for free... errr... gratuity.
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