A group of Overseas Vietnamese students in Manchester city, the UK, have developed a mobile application named Tubudd in a hope to create a network that will connect foreign visitors with local tour guides in Vietnam, thus providing the visitors with a new and trustworthy way to explore Vietnam.
Connecting visitors with local “buddies”
The name Tubudd is short for “Tour Buddy”, implying a tour of “buddies.” According to 26-year-old Vu Thi Thai An, alias Annie, one of the application’s creators, the way Tubudd is run is very simple: users just need to visit http://www.tubudd.com/ to log in to the application on their mobile phones in order to “book” a local tour guide – a buddy – in the place they wish to visit at their selected time.
Available tour guides are posted on the application with adequate personal information to make it easy for users to find their best-fit companion for their trip.
Meanwhile, the tour guides are required to be fluent in a second language, have a love of the city in which they are living and show a certain understanding of the geography and culture of the place. They will be invited to join a quick online interview to test the buddy’s foreign language fluency before becoming an official buddy for Tubudd.
An said that approximately 300 people have used Tubudd and most of them are Overseas Vietnamese students in the US, Germany and the UK.
An’s team expects to benefit Tubudd’s users in two ways. Firstly, allowing visitors to see towns, cities and provinces in the best way that they can be shown. Tubudd is also designed as a perfect companion for any traveller who wants to experience life and culture in the manner that the locals do, thus helping visitors to dive deeper into the unknown and place themselves in a whole new environment that they may never have known existed. Secondly, providing Vietnamese youngsters with a platform to improve their English with foreigners and earn their income.
Information on tour guides are made available on Tubudd to make it easy for users to find their best-fit travel companion for their trip
Advertising the charm of Vietnam
Petr from Canada and his friends are some of the first travellers to experience a Vietnam tour with a local guide that they found on Tubudd. He recalled that his group met Annie by chance in Hanoi and the meeting turned out to be a wonderful blessing that he had never expected on his trip. Annie introduced the Canadian friends to a fresh look at Vietnam which the group had never heard before. They were updated on a list of restaurants, cafeterias and shops in Hanoi,
In Ho Chi Minh City, they continued to have interesting experiences, tasting delicious local dishes and visiting beautiful places with the support from a buddy in town.
Petr said that as a foreign visitor to Vietnam he found that having Vietnamese youngsters as travel companions is the best way to explore life in Vietnam and learn about the cultural identity of the country.
Tran Thi Thao from Ho Chi Minh City is one of first tour guide members of Tubudd. She said she felt lucky to have the opportunity of introducing foreigners to the city and enjoy the tasty street food.
As a Tubudd member, you will never feel as though you are working or undertaking a task, Thao said, adding that all you need is an open heart and the willingness to support, considering the visitors as your friends, and you will complete your work as an enjoyable experience.
Tubudd has brought about a new idea in travel, revolutionising the way people experience travel towards friendliness and comfort. The application’s founders are working hard to complete the app in a bid to further advertise the image of Vietnam to world travellers.