February 13, 2006

"Immediate buzz"

Whether it's a pub crawl in Berlin or a peek into the hidden courtyards of Paris, adventurous travelers are increasingly choosing "lifestyle" tours that give them instant access to the "immediate buzz" of a city's culture, writes Gisela Williams in The New York Times. Her article in yesterday's Travel section profiles half a dozen such tours and points readers toward a Seattle company, InTouch Travel to book others.

InTouch, in case you're new to all this, is a client of Cornichon Communications, and we're thrilled with the recognition. The full article is available online (free registration required), or you can download this PDF.

"The phone hasn't stopped ringing, and we've had dozens of email inquiries," says InTouch Travel's founder Andrea Nims. "More and more travelers want to experience something new, and a couple of days of cultural immersion is very appealing."

Passage .jpg
Henrik on his pub crawl in Berlin; Josef's guests in a Paris passageway.

One of the InTouch Travel hosts, Henrik Tidefjard, was prominently featured in the Times article. The founder of Berlinagenten, he takes his private clients on a one-night, five-course "gastro-rallye." His InTouch guests accompany him for two days and nights as he prowls the city and its neighborhoods, gathering material for his website.

Another InTouch host, photographer Josef Schomburg, recently hosted a couple from New York City for two days while he did historical research for his "behind closed doors" walking tours of Paris.

InTouch Travel was launched less than a year ago to provide a variety of opportunities for "cultural travel." The company offers the services of 73 hosts in 11 countries. They are fluent English speakers in a wide range of professions, from journalists to university professors.

Travelers pay a flat rate of $650 per guest per day, which covers all meals and expenses as well as a stipend to the host. Hotel accommodations can also be arranged for guests.

It's the second time this year that InTouch has received international attention. Last month, two InTouch hosts with food blogs (in fact, the only two bloggers period) were listed among the Internet's Top Ten Food Blogs Good Enough to Eat by the editors of About.com. They were DavidLebovitz.com in Paris and, ahem, Cornichon.org based here in Seattle.

Posted by Ronald Holden at February 13, 2006 12:04 PM