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Record turnover in 2020 in the travel sector. Utopia? No, GuruWalk, a Spanish start up, has made it possible

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Losses in Spain, where the sector represents almost 15% of GDP, will be more than 100,000 million euros. Travel restrictions, border closures and lockdowns due to COVID-19 have led to an unprecedented slump in tourist numbers.

In the worst year in the history for tourism since there are records, the Spanish free tour start-up has managed to set a turnover record despite Covid-19.

Tourism, one of the most important economic sectors in the world, will close this year with losses of 3 trillion dollars due to the pandemic, as confirmed by Bulut Bagci, the director of the Institute of the World Tourism Forum.

Losses in Spain, where the sector represents almost 15% of GDP, will be more than 100,000 million euros. Travel restrictions, border closures and lockdowns due to COVID-19 have led to an unprecedented slump in tourist numbers.

Despite this general framework, there are companies that have known how to adapt and surf the wave, rather the tsunami, of the pandemic that has hit tourism especially hard worldwide. One of them is GuruWalk, the free tour platform that has achieved in this year horribilis for tourism to make a turnover record. 

Its CEO, Juan Castillo, tells us that these figures are the result of a great long-term strategy based on globalization, digitization and especially on a highly optimized SEO strategy. Although the results for GuruWalk have been positive, the company has also suffered from the crisis caused by the Coronavirus. According to the World Tourism Organization only in the month of June tourist arrivals had fallen 93% compared to the previous year. "Despite the small number of people who have traveled this year, we have set a record turnover, under normal circumstances the estimated results for the month of August alone would have been close to half a million euros" estimates Juan Castillo.

That is why at GuruWalk they continue to believe faithfully in the viability of the business. “We found a blue ocean with free tours, it is a model that brings added value to the user, since it offers a real experience from the hand of local people. Furthermore, we are growing sustainably contributing to the development of local economies" says Juan Castillo.

Currently, the platform that has revolutionized the free tour market is present in 110 countries, offering tours in 580 cities. By diversifying their portfolio, they have managed to survive the effects of the pandemic, since when Europe suffered its hardest wave, other parts of the world such as Latin America and the United States were coming out of it and vice versa.

GuruWalk's offer is very extensive, both in cities where their "gurus", as they call the guides, offer their free tours, as well as in their theme, which can be historical and cultural, but also gastronomic, artistic, and even inspired by illustrious characters or television series. This great variety facilitates and motivates people to also "travel" without leaving their city.

As if that weren't enough, in times of pandemic they also have the support of science, national and international scientific studies and renowned voices such as the Spanish virologist Margarita del Val, confirm that the open air, where the free tours take place, is the safest space to avoid the transmission of the virus.

Currently, the free tour start-up is in search of a new round of financing after receiving 1 million euros last year from a fund of Harvard alumni and mentors from the SeedRocket accelerator among others. "GuruWalk has come to stay thanks to an innovative and disruptive model" concludes its CEO, Juan Castillo.

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