Tourists want to “live like a local.” How do locals feel about that?

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The way we travel has changed.

Where once we relied on guidebooks and travel agents to plan a vacation for us, today we book a last-minute flight on Kayak, find accommodation on Airbnb, and craft our own itinerary thanks to the recommendations of social media influencers, bloggers, and our friends.

The rise of online travel agents and low cost airlines has brought about a great democratization of travel, further emboldening travelers to seek an off-the-beaten path, sensory experience. Nowadays, the ultimate vacation for the modern, internet-enabled traveler is to “live like a local”—and no doubt document the journey while they’re doing it.

If you want to understand what this breed of traveler wants, Lisbon is the perfect place to see it. Since 2011, this kind of tourism has exploded here. In 2017, more than 5 million people visited—that’s nine tourists for each local.

Lisbon’s pastel building facades, vertiginous streets, and distinctive food culture provide the perfect Instagram backdrop. And sure enough, it’s not hard to find business owners and locals who have benefitted economically from the boom. But the economic benefits of “live like a local” travel only tells part of the story. In Lisbon, the tourism boom has had ripple effects everywhere from the housing market to getting into the local lunch spot.

Quartz News set out to answer the question: What does live like a local travel mean for locals’ lives?

Quartz News is a weekly video series bringing you in-depth reporting from around the world. Each episode investigates one story, breaking down the often unseen economic and technological forces shaping our future.

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