In Barcelona there is a company that has decided to show the city in a different way: they only use “homeless” people as guides.
This is a social initiative proposed by Hidden City Tours, Barcelona – the 4th most visited city in Europe. Lisa Grace, a British woman who has lived in the city for over ten years, launched the initiative.
The goal is to show Barcelona through different eyes and ways of living, but also to find employment for the homeless in the city. Hidden City Tours has selected people through an NGO, and Lisa Grace with the help of an expert historian, trained Fernando and Juan Carlos, who currently live in temporary accommodation, to be guides. Unfortunately, in Barcelona there are more than 3,000 people living on the street or in housing that is not fit for habitation.
I won’t expand on my position here, but I really believe this is a mistake. I believe in responsible tourism, but I do not think this project is about responsible tourism. Homeless people cannot be guides unless they have the same education as official guides, but now you can find “Homeless Guides” in other cities such as in London, Bath and Berlin.
• Do you think it can be good for our industry?
• Do you think it can impact on our quality standards?
• Do you think tourists will pay this kind of guide?
• Are tourists looking for a city guide or a social experience with homeless people?
What would you say? I must admit I am totally shocked…