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Recession-proof tourism? Free tours of European cities

Travel & Tourism

Visitors to many of Europe’s cities can now get elaborate walking tours for free, thanks to Sandeman’s New Europe Tours. Available in London, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Paris and Madrid, each tour begins at a central meeting place and lasts two to four hours as it provides an overview of the city’s sights. In London, for example, two free tours are available–one focusing on the Old City of London, and the other concentrating on Royal London. In Berlin, meanwhile New Europe Tours offers both walking and bicycle tours for free. Tours are often available in multiple languages, and Sandeman’s New Europe also publishes a free line of English language New Europe magazines, as well as offering hostel booking on its site. The company got started in Berlin in 2004, and has been expanding ever since. As the euro continues to be painfully expensive for tourists from outside the EU, New Europe Tours are no doubt more popular than ever. Recession-proof tourism, anyone…? While participants on the tours don’t have to pay to attend, tips are expected–roughly EUR 10 a head is reportedly standard, which could be viewed as pay what you want rather than strictly free. Besides providing guides with decent income from tips, the tours also advertise the company’s range of private and paid tours, including the Red Berlin Tour, the New Paris Tour of Versailles and pub crawls. Indeed, a full 46 percent of visitors who take the company’s free Berlin tour end up taking one of the paid tours as well, the company states. Which, of course, is yet another testament to the (marketing) power of free love. Make it fun, make it informative, but most of all, make it free! Consumers will return your love with interest. 😉 (Related: Blind guides take sighted on sensorial tours of Lisbon.) Spotted by: Maarten Munster



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