A Review of 2020 – and a Preview of 2021!

As for most organizations in the travel industry, 2020 was a difficult year for Spotted by Locals too. Traffic & app downloads collapsed. Already fully booked trips to meet our Spotters in Minsk, Tampere and Tashkent were canceled. Our 5th Spotters Weekend – which would have been our biggest ever in a very exciting new country & city – was canceled…. And a few of our Spotters got infected with the coronavirus – fortunately everybody recovered fully.

But lots of beautiful things happened too!

We launched a guide to Tampere: our 80th city

Talvi Tampere (by Laura Vanzo)

In February, we launched our 80th city guide to Tampere Finland. The the biggest inland city in the Nordic countries, it deserves to be called the “sauna capital of the world”, there’s lots of history all around, many festivals and it’s a great base to explore the beautiful lakes and nature that surround the city.

Our locals Hanna, Heta, Julia, Olga and Tiia have done an amazing job as the first Tampere Spotters!

We launched our first Central Asian city guide

Rayhon Milliy Taomlar Tashkent (by Khurshid Daliev)

We launched a city guide to the capital of Uzbekistan: Tashkent. Our Spotters Farkhod, Malika and Umida have done a wonderful job writing about their favorite spots in the city they call home and love.

In 2021 we hope to continue launching guides to capitals of more “Stan countries”. And we expect to be able to visit Uzbekistan, one of the trips that was canceled and one of the few places we haven’t traveled yet to meet our Spotters!

Our community grew to 500+ Spotters and 80+ cities

So many Spotters, Photoshop can’t handle more for this collage…

We now have more than 500 Spotters writing about their favorite spots, and more than 1000 “ex-Spotters” who can no longer be a Spotter for various reasons but who will always be in our heart!

We introduced digital Spotter meetings

Spotters miss meeting Spotters. That’s why we’ve introduced a weekly digital Spotters meeting in November. Founders Sanne and Bart led the first session – every week after that a different Spotter moderated a session about a topic that’s close to their heart.

Marcel led a short workshop on Place writing, Tiago introduced us to Portuguese music, Michael talked about why he joined the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Sergei told us about the revolution in Belarus and Raffi told us about the conflict in Artsaksh (a.k.a. Nagorno-Karabakh).

Two Spotters couples got married!

Sabrina & Reuven wedding

Two couples who met each other because of Spotted by Locals, got married this year! First Dimitris and Marilena (both Athens Spotters) – we were there to celebrate with them! And this month: Sabrina (Vienna) and Reuven (Tel Aviv)!

Dimitris & Marilena wedding

2021 will be better

We think more people than ever have realized in 2020 that it is so much more fulfilling and sustainable to spend your money at the locally owned spots that are having such a hard time. And as we are one of the few city guide networks focused on undiscovered cities, with always up-to-date tips and a “no international franchises allowed” policy, we think the time is right for Spotted by Locals.

We’ve visualized “travel in 2020” and our hopes for 2021 in this animation made for us by Glasgow Spotter Caterina:

Thank you all for your support in 2020, and please stay with us in 2021!

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