Recently, a socially-minded organization in Barcelona has started addressing the area’s dire economic state by putting the homeless to work as tour guides.
Spain’s unemployment rate hovers around 25 percent, but the country’s disastrous economic state hasn’t stopped travelers from coming to visit.
Recently, a socially-minded organization called Hidden City Tours considered both of those factors and came up with an idea – putting the homeless to work as tour guides.
The company’s founder, Lisa Grace, picked Barcelona as the launching site for the tourism business as it’s the 4th most visited city in Europe, and also one with a rapidly growing homeless population.
All of Hidden City Tours guides are recruited by a homeless charity in the city and trained by the company.
A Historian helps in the planning the routes, but the guides also offer input to add to the uniqueness and authenticity of the experience.
According to Ms. Grace, "The tour is still predominantly a historical one, but it does include an element of social reality which other guided tours in the city may not have."
Guides who speak both English and Spanish are available for several of the outings.
The per-person price to get the insider view of the city’s Gothic quarter is under 15 dollars.