LONDON, Nov 9 — The growth of websites that connect travellers with the locals and drivers with strangers points to the continued interest in peer-to-peer travel services, most noticeably in Europe.
That’s the assessment of a wide-sweeping report out of the World Travel Market in London this week, which looked at major travel trends that shaped 2013.
Notable players within the sharing economy this year include Blablacar.com, a ride-sharing service that helps drivers reduce their fuel bill and passengers hitch a ride for a fraction of conventional travel costs.
As of August this year, the site counted more than three million members across 10 countries in Europe, 600,000 of whom use the service monthly.
To meet rising demand for authenticity in travel, Vayable.com pairs globetrotters with local experts and guides who offer everything from “graffiti” walks in Barcelona and nocturnal biking tours of Berlin to a walking tour of all the major film locations of “Amelie” in Paris.
And Voulezvousdiner.com pairs travellers looking for an authentic dining experience with locals who enjoy entertaining and hosting dinner parties.
According to the report, the value of private travel accommodation in Europe — powered by sites such as Airbnb, Flipkey and Housetrip — is forecast to reach US$15.4 billion (RM49 billion) by 2017. — AFP/Relaxnews