Hospitality industry has been growing day by day, as more and more people have started traveling quite frequently to the distinct parts of the World. With the advent of Internet, and advancement of technology, several communities have started their websites as well, to improve upon their chances of making their communities famous and a hit among the people. And in a process, earn handsomely, and manage and maintain their communities.
There are several travel communities, like, CouchSurfing, Hospitality, Servas, Globalfreeloaders, AirBnB, BeWelcome, Wayn, and several others. Some of these started as a non-profit organization, but later on changed their status to Business Corporation, which was not liked by it’s Volunteers itself, and it’s members.
However, almost all of these communities are one of the most famous organizations in the World. These communities are not only active online, but very active or shall I say more active offline. They have regular events, meetups, hosts, guests, and travelers. They provide a couch or a bed or even the floor for free or for some nominal amount to the guests, travelers, and members of their communities. It’s at hosts discretion though, whether to provide food and/or other facilities or not.
Travelers are expected to write a couch/bed/floor request first through the community’s website, and if their hosts accept the request, they are provided with free home stays, and/or by submitting a nominal fee. Lots of travelers have been benefitted worldwide, by such interesting, accommodating, and great communities.
However, everything has some pros and cons, similarly, these great traveling communities have their share of it too. Some of the travelers were cheated, duped, harassed, stolen, molested, raped, and even killed in various parts of the World. I was in Goa, India at Christmas, and NYE, and got to know that one guy from some European country was killed by someone, and the reasons were unknown, as he was found dead in his hotel room. He was a part of one of these great communities, and was very excited, happy and enjoyed by posting on the community’s open forums, and meeting the other members of that community, but was not aware that his days or moments of his life were about to have an abrupt end, because of that very community he was a part of.
Many other incidents have been taking place quite often. There have been several women, who have been complaining about it’s members, especially guys, who trouble, spam, harass, rape, steal, cheat women, and as I said even murder sometimes. But, Is someone listening to them, Is their security taken care of, Is something concrete happening regarding their cases???? No, not at all. The case goes on for sometime. Women/Men post regarding their ridiculous experiences on open forums to let others know, and seek their help, but most of the members support the culprits only, rather than supporting the victims. One reason is, members have their set groups of members, whom they support, so if anything happens against them they simply support them by being biased. Lots of manipulations goes on regarding hosting, meeting, traveling, itineraries, who gets to meet/host/travel with someone and who doesn’t, even if it means defaming the other hosts/members without any reason. So, after getting no support or almost negligible support, women/men rest their cases, and forget about getting any justice, either leaving the community, stop using the community, or kicked out of the community.
This makes me reach to a conclusion that, such communities can be used, but it’s better to use it more for information rather than finding people to meet, host, and travel with, as they are also not any different from the other ordinary people. Though, the ordinary people are certainly much better when you go on the streets yourself, visit different places, and interact with them, at least they are not going to do anything, which you can’t handle, as they don’t know much information about you, and you are not staying at their place or traveling with them or so close to them, so you can easily move away from them without any problem, But, the same can’t be said about the community members.
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