Barter for a holiday
In a time when cash is tight for many, some wonder whether bartering will come back into use. Little do most people know, though, that they could potentially barter for an Italian holiday in the month of November.
This year’s edition of Italy’s Bartering 2012 Week will kick off on November 19 and run until November 25. Launched by www.bed-and-breakfast.it four years ago, partners of the Italian site which caters to travellers seeking micro hospitality including more than 15,000 bed and breakfasts (B&Bs), are ready to barter one or more days of accommodation in exchange for goods or services.
As far as sustainable tourism goes, this might just take the cake.
Barter Week allows travellers with all kinds of budgets to afford a holiday in spite of the credit crunch, which often limits mobility. Resourceful travellers can stay at B&Bs across Italy at no cost at all by offering goods or services, particularly expertise, professional skills, networking or partnering opportunities as well as friendship.
Barter Weeks of years past proved popular in Italy and encouraged new facilities to get involved in the scheme, with over 2,200 accommodations accepting barters at present, a number that continues to grow. What may come as a surprise is that there are nearly 800 B&Bs in Italy that accept barters all year round.
How does it work? The “room barter” market is a virtual one that can best be understood at www.settimanadelbaratto.it, a site whose features enable tourists to match their barter offers up with the wish lists of participating B&Bs.
But perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the idea is that for one week a year, Italian B&B operators return to the tradition of hospitality and gratitude that formerly characterised travel.