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Despite stalled growth in China, Brazil and Russia, a wave of newly middle-class travelers from the BRICs and beyond will start visiting international destinations in the coming decades — dwarfing the numbers we’ve seen thus far.
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Our third installment of early-stage startups includes some that might not traditionally be considered travel companies, but definitely aid travelers before or after a journey.
CityFootprints is a web app that allows users to create, find, and share itineraries that will help them discover a city in new ways. The tool is self-described as “if Yelp and TripAdvisor had a beautiful baby.” SkiftTake: The service will have to differentiate its guides from the many user-generated itineraries that are showing up on the web — and overcoming the fact that few people plan itineraries like this. Finding a niche group of content creators or specifying a type of guide might be a start.
Karma is a mobile virtual network operator that awards users to for opening their mobile broadband connection to strangers by giving them a 100 MB of data every time a new person connects to their service. SkiftTake: Karma has the potential to become a travelers’ best friend. If the “social bandwidth” concept spreads, travelers can look forward to easier Internet connections in out-of-reach destinations.
Airport Chatter‘s mobile app aims to provide travelers with airport information and connect them to fellow flyers. The app launched last week with extensive information on thirty airports where users can review venues or view travelers’ profiles and message one another. SkiftTake: This is a more social twist on GateGuru and TravelNerd, but will only take off if a critical mass of travelers want to share their personal information with nearby voyeurs.
Tripnest is a social networking platform for people planning a trip or looking to share their experiences. The beta page description suggests the site will also be a marketplace to share “travel tools” and homes. SkiftTake: The primary purpose of the site still isn’t clear, but the challenge for all social travel sites, even one with a Craigslist-like component, is growing a large enough community to create legitimate conversations and meaningful transactions.