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 environmental issues which are probably the most important ones (if we do not preserve anything for usage of other 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 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, microjobs 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 microjob! A micro job is, as the word implies, a small paid task. The basic concept of a microjobs 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 virtual assistant, prepare travel itineraries or you have time to make airports pick-ups? All these tasks done for somebody can be called microjobs.
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 going to talk now: travel microjobs.
Let´s first define economic and socio cultural sustainability. Economic sustainability simply means keeping money local. Staying in international chain of hotels or eating in well-know fast food restaurants will hardly bring any important benefit to locals. Well, these internmational companies can be large employers, but the money will likely leak abroad instead 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 microjobs is from the perspective of time when a microjob is consumed. Some microjobs 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 traveler´s travel destination, needs and budget, provide few tips about restaurants and pubs that they frequent, advices inform how get from one place to another cheaply and efficiently, how to live like a 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.
The second set of micro jobs can be services being consumed during one’s travels and are mostly personal and delivered personally like guided tours, airport pick-ups, message deliveries, laundry, personal translator services, organizing local family or business events etc. Types of personal services are virtually unlimited.
Last but not least there is the third type of services - sending anything from anywhere to anywhere. Every trip comes to an end. After a while travelers might start missing not only the joy of your travels but also things learned to use when on road or souvenirs forgotten to be to bought. Do you want to receive a postcard from destination you love, gifts and souvenirs you forgot to buy? Or maybe, you miss your favorite perfumes, spices or food that can only be bought locally?
There are naturally more microjobs which can be done locally than is mentioned above, types of microjobs are unlimited: only imagination and the sky is a limit. But there is one thing they have in common: they keep money with local people and may also preserves local traditions and culture.
In summary, supporting locals by giving them the opportunity to offer microjobs is the great way how to make traveling better for them and travelers themselves.