2017 Winner
Wise 50 Over 50 Award™

Paul Melhus & Dave Vincent – ToursByLocals


The spark for ToursByLocals was struck during a trip we (Paul and Dave) made to China in June of 2006. While we were in Beijing, we were determined to make it to the Great Wall. Time constraints meant we couldn’t adhere to the fixed schedules of the bus tours. A local travel agent came up with a solution: a private driver would take us to the wall, wait while we explored, then return us to Beijing Airport in time for our flight. We wouldn’t have a guide, but at least we’d get to see the wall!

My partner Dave Vincent and I started ToursByLocals almost a decade ago, when we were in our early 50s. We started the business because we saw an opportunity to help travellers make real connections with knowledgeable locals in the places they were visiting. Our team of 2000 local guides now offer private tours in 160 countries!

In November 2008, we launched ToursByLocals out of our offices in Vancouver, BC. Today our network has grown to include 2,064 guides working in 159 countries around the world. We now have additional offices in Buenos Aires, Glasgow and Kuala Lumpur, and have served almost 700,000 travellers. We remain committed to the goal of connecting travelers with local guides everywhere that people want to go.

Riding the trend of customers searching for more customized local travel experiences, ToursByLocals has experienced strong and consistent sales growth since 2010, with year over year growth ranging between 35 to 60%. Our projected sales total for 2017 is approximately $27 million (USD), representing a 45% growth over 2016 sales.