Hidden City Has Walking Tours Led by Homeless People

When attempting to promote tourism, most cities don’t wish to call attention to their homeless population. But Hidden City Tours in Barcelona is doing just that. And business is prospering through it.

The tour company, which launched in 2013, employs current or former homeless people as tour guides. Each guide leads walking tours to a few of the city’s preferable destinations, including the Gaudis and Las Ramblas. But beyond the fundamentals, additionally they share personal insights and stories from their very own lives. Having lived at the streets of Barcelona, this can lend some truly one-of-a-kind perspectives.

Owner of Hidden City Tours Lisa Grace told Fast Company:

“Our guides have much life experience, empathy, and I’d say almost a sixth sense from years of living in the street.”

She recruits her employees from local social services and soup kitchens. They need to be drug and alcohol free and feature the power to talk multiple languages. As well as, Grace works with a neighborhood historian who helps the tour guides brush up on their knowledge of local landmarks.

The tours are mainly produced from nearly four people at a time. So they’re also more intimate than your typical city tours. That blend of small group size and unique insights have been the important thing to the company’s success.

hidden city tours

And that’s important to Grace (pictured above), who insists that though her company employs homeless people, it’s away from a charity group. She said:

“A charity is a body that receives donations and grants. We’re an organization that provides a service, a high quality service. We receive no funding or donations. A social enterprise should be economically viable, otherwise it just causes more problems for society.”

Hidden City Tours currently employs five people, moreover Grace. And the corporate, though it was initially funded by Grace, is now fully supported by tour profits.

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