Seeking Traveler: a Boutique Approach to Tourism

February 16, 2021 Tamar Chanidze
Seeking Traveler: a Boutique Approach to Tourism

Seeking Traveler is a service that aims to create a magical experience for tourists in Bulgaria. Founded by Georgi Georgiev and Alexander Stamatov (both current AUBG students) and Denitsa Stoykova, the platform is part of the AUBG Accelerator Program Elevate. It gives visitors the opportunity to explore different parts of the country with the help of  locals. From fascinating stories to homemade meals, Seeking Traveler helps tourists experience the Bulgarian culture from an insider’s perspective. Take a look at our interview with Georgi Georgiev to learn more about the startup. 

What is Seeking Traveler

Seeking Traveler provides tourism services that enable customers to escape from mass tourism and enjoy more of a boutique way of tourism. We give you the opportunity to explore the city through the eyes of the locals while enjoying their stories and trying different homemade meals.

Unique solution

Many tourism services on the Balkans see tourists like walking banknotes and this is especially prevalent on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast where we grew up. This was something that irritated me a lot because it is not the right way to treat people, no matter if they are tourists or not. So, we decided to create a service that gives a lot of added value and puts quality over quantity.

The process

We had the idea of creating tours for a few years and luckily, we joined the second season of Elevate which helped us kickstart Seeking Traveler. Of course, during the program, the idea changed. Initially, we wanted to create a tour in Bansko, but with all the measures against COVID-19, we decided that it is better to invest our energy in creating a tour in Sozopol for the summer. That’s why in the begging of June 2021 we launched Sozopol Food & Wine Tour.

The challenges

When we started, we knew that it was going to be difficult, but we didn’t expect it to be so difficult. There were a lot of challenges we faced in the process. One of the major difficulties was creating partnerships in advance, not when the season starts. We traveled to Sozopol in February intending to create partnerships. However, we soon realized that no one in Sozopol is thinking about summer in February. Sounds obvious, but for us who needed to launch our service during the summer, it wasn’t. Everyone we got in touch with answered with the same sentence: “we will talk again when the summer approaches”. We waited until April/May and when we started approaching people, we were told that “there is no time, you had to contact us earlier”. Overall, the difficulty comes from the fact that creating and executing tours requires a lot of communication with a lot of people that have been working in tourism for years and not all of them are open to something new.

AUBG lessons

Everything that I have learned at AUBG has been very useful in the process of establishing Seeking Traveler. For example, the business course connected to cross-cultural communications was beneficial when we went to Sozopol and started communicating with so many people from different cultural backgrounds. Even though our hometown Burgas is near Sozopol, the people there had a different way of doing things and we had to adjust to it.

Plan ahead

Currently, we are working on the Sozopol Food & Wine Tour as it requires daily work and after the summer ends, we want to expand to Bansko, depending on the situation with the pandemic.