What is an ‘Alternative Tour’? Many people always ask me this and in all honesty I have to say it is a very broad term.
In my opinion, quite simply an ‘Alternative Tour’ can be described as a tour of a city that does not focus on solely providing historical information, dates and facts. Instead it opens the boundaries of a tour, making a social experience for the customer, whilst still deliveing information in more relaxed, less scripted manner. History, arts, food, current affairs, music, trends and general subjects are all easily mixed into a good overview of how a city is ‘today’.
Why do I choose this approach to leading a tour? I believe that relaxed guiding, with room for discussion and conversation is a much better way for customers to get closer to the city they are visiting, rather than being dictated a set of events in a historical context.
When I started working with tours and showing Riga from my perspective I was not trained in Tourism. What I had done, was show a keen interest in the city I live, Riga and learn as much as I could about it through books, museums, people and self exploring.
This curiosity and interest led me in the direction of showing others the city of Riga and in most cases I had no idea of routes, no set stories, no real plan but a general direction. Over time I was asked to show Riga more often and I would always create new routes, find new areas to show and contemparary spaces of interest. Before long I was running a tour company.
My first tour was focused on showing different areas of Riga, less explored by tourists. Thinking of a name for the tour was not hard and soon ‘The Riga Alternative Tour’ was born. It had grown naturally out of the desire to show other sides of Riga. The ultimate goal was to show a more diverse side to the city, ignoring the over visited sites.
The name ‘Alternative Tour’ itself tells the public, that they should not expect the ‘typical’ or ‘traditional’. This helps us greatly, as our customers tend to be very relaxed, down to earth types and I suppose this is also our aim. To ensure quality customers! Enjoy folks.