Out There

A new app takes Van­cou­ver vis­i­tors ex­plor­ing.

Vancouver Magazine - - City - —Anicka Quin

guid­ing vis­it­ing friends around Van­cou­ver, would a horse-drawn car­riage ride in Stan­ley Park be tops on your to-do list? Prob­a­bly not—but as Jim McGovern dis­cov­ered when he was read­ing up on Van­cou­ver tourist des­ti­na­tions, it ranks pretty high. And that got him think­ing, What if there were an app that could con­nect lo­cal in­sight with vis­it­ing out­doorsy types? “When I went to Italy I tried to hire some­one to show us around, so I went to Trip Ad­vi­sor,” says McGovern, who spent 34 years in the Œnance in­dus­try. “I re­al­ized that ev­ery­thing I was read­ing was just what other tourists were say­ing about what other tourists told them. There was no real plat­form for what the lo­cals were do­ing.” He launched Yer­vana in Fe­bru­ary to o•er just that. The app lets lo­cal ex­perts post “ad­ven­tures” that they have cre­ated for “ex­plor­ers”: a snow­shoe to Cy­press Moun­tain’s hid­den cab­ins, for ex­am­ple, will run you $50; a Œve-hour bike tour with co•ee, snack and a beer at the end will cost $100. Yer­vana han­dles the book­ings and in­sur­ance, and takes 25 per­cent of the fee. Lo­cals de­cide when they’re avail­able to take guests around, and, like most shar­ing econ­omy-type mod­els, users re­view the ex­pe­ri­ences on­line af­ter­ward so fu­ture ex­plor­ers get asense of what’s great and what’s less so. “We launched in the Sea to Sky cor­ri­dor be­cause it’s prob­a­bly one of the great­est play­grounds in North Amer­ica,” he says. “Yer­vana is a com­mu­nity of lo­cals and that ‘real’ mo­ment you get here.”

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