Picture this: A local cafe wrapped tightly in plastic sheets, on a usually busy street in the center of Toronto’s fashion district. You would think the business was closed if it weren’t for the line of people stretching down the block, diligently spaced two meters apart. From an envelope-sized hole in the plastic, a gloved hand passes a croissant and a coffee cup. The customer taps their card, thanks the person working the counter, and walks off.
We are seeing this scene play out in every town, city, and region, as a result of the Coronavirus entering our communities. Business owners are showing incredible resilience and creativity in pivoting to keep their services available and keep income flowing to themselves and their staff.
At the same time, we all are staying local, and in the process, trying to find the best way to support the people and places that make our hometowns wonderful places to live. People who work in museums, breweries and restaurants, retail shops and local grocers.
In the past few weeks at CrowdRiff, we’ve spoken with hundreds of destination marketers. We’ve watched and listened to how our 850+ travel and tourism customers have responded to this, as well as the community at large.
What I’m witnessing today is a noticeable shift in the way we see the world, a lens that is not just looking outward at other destinations but very much looking inward, at the local places we call home.
This shift brought me back to a phrase coined by Visit Copenhagen back in 2017, and used more recently by our friends at Tourism Toronto. The notion of localhood, a long-term vision that supports the inclusive co-creation of our future destination. A future destination where human relations are the focal point.
Localhood is a global community of destinations, small businesses, and their local champions. It’s a place where locals and creators can share their experiences supporting these businesses, and a platform where destinations can show the world the personal and inspiring stories of their people.
Today we launch the first step in bringing localhood to the world. We hope that you will sign up for early access and as we roll out new features every week, you’ll be among the first to be able to put your locals on the world stage.
Image credit: @elisejonell