Shifting Gears During COVID

Last Updated April 01, 2020

Food tour operators play a unique role in their communities. They’re the local experts tourists and residents rely on to find the best eats in a city. They’re ambassadors to restaurants and markets, bringing through new guests and sharing the remarkable stories behind the small businesses. So what happens during a pandemic that halts tourism and forces everyone into isolation?

In British Columbia, Michelle Ng at Vancouver Foodie Tours is taking the tour to peoples’ homes. One of her top experiences is a walking tour of the famed Granville Island Public Market. A massive market full of the freshest food around, it’s typically jam-packed with foodies. Now, it’s serving as an essential grocery store for locals trying to stay healthy. No tours.

Taking Tours to Your Home

Until life gets back to normal, Michelle and her team are offering a Granville Island Foodie Delivery service. “Since people can’t get out to enjoy our local food scene, we wanted to bring the Public Market foodie experience to them,” says Ng. She’s offering three different curated packages, but there’s an added bonus. Each package includes a virtual tour to complete the home-based experience.

“This is a way for people to support their local food culture and keep people working while we all stay responsibly isolated. We have customers buying kits for friends, family, clients –some even buy a kit for themselves as well, so they can share the same taste experiences at home with friends over a video call.”

She’s Not Alone

Just across the US border, Savor Seattle Food Tours is offering a similar home delivery service. Their box features iconic goodies from the Pike Place Market, usually home to their most popular tours. For convenience, they’re also offering curbside pickup at set times for their buyers.

Finding these opportunities can help tour operators maintain some revenues, sure. The real power, however, comes in the support to your local business partners. While it’s unlikely Michelle envisioned her tours becoming home-based, she knows it’s the right thing to do during this crisis.

“People have to stay home for the health of the community, but you can still share local foodie love.”

How are you branching out to help your community and keep your business strong?

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