Torontonian sets up Lokafy to connect locals with travellers
Lokafyers give traveller's an insider's view of where to eat, what to see
If you're visiting Toronto and want to know where to find the perfect morning croissant or where to dance to Latin music, Kiran Samra says you should consider linking up with a Lokafyer.
Lokafyers are locals who'll take you off the well-beaten tourist trail and to the city's many culinary and cultural hotspots.
Samra, who's lived in Canada, France, Germany, India, Asia and North America, is the founder of Lokafy, a startup that connects travellers with Torontonians.
The Pan Am Games are here, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Toronto?src=hash">#Toronto</a>! Our Lokafyers can't wait to take you around this beautiful city of ours. Experience Toronto! Book now!—@LokafyTravel
"I recognized in my own travels that my best experiences were when I went expressly to visit a city but sometimes it was spontaneously meeting someone, and getting to know them and getting to know the city better," she told CBC News.
"As I talked to more and more people, I kept hearing the same story. People would say they only travel to a city where they know someone. Sometimes you get stuck doing the same old touristy things and not getting under the skin of the place."
Samra, who studied at York University and earned an MBA from the Rotman School of Management (University of Toronto), says her first Lokafy experience was meeting someone in Budapest.
"He told me everything there was to know about politics in Hungary, what it's like to live there," she said.
On its site, Lokafy says "all Lokafyers have been interviewed one-on-one prior to being accepted on the platform. They have been chosen based on their passion for their home city and their desire to share what they love most with travellers.
"Through conversations with your Lokafyer you will learn about what it would be like to live in the city, and begin to see the city through their eyes."
Lokafy charges $15 per person and the minimum meeting length is two hours. The company says "most of the payment for the tour goes to the Lokafyers, to compensate them for taking time off from their schedule."
Laura Just jumped at the opportunity to become a Lokafyer.
Best new restaurant? Cutest patio? Lokafyer Laura shares suggestions and advice for navigating the big city! <a href="http://t.co/wL4iYCr2pZ">http://t.co/wL4iYCr2pZ</a>—@LokafyTravel
"I love meeting new people so I was like, why not get paid meeting new people and show them around my city? That sounds like a dream job."
Just says "you can't just walk around aimlessly and stumble upon these hidden gems. There are all these different neighbourhoods to explore and having a local host who knows exactly where to go makes it a lot easier and more fun."