After Bath and London, Barcelona is the latest city to offer guided tours led by the people who know the streets the best: the homeless.
Itâ€™s an emerging trend that appeals to tourists seeking an authentic, unvarnished tour of a city conducted by the locals, while at the same time takes a few homeless people, ironically, off the streets.
Guides at Hidden City Tours in Barcelona, for instance, will be screened by a homeless charity and then trained by the tourism outfit before they hit the streets in a completely different capacity from their previous life: as an employed one.
Created by British expat Lisa Grace, the idea came to life after she fell victim to the economic crisis that has rocked that country and she lost her job as a market research consultant.
â€œWhen you lose your job you realize just how vulnerable you are,â€ she said in a statement. â€œI was lucky to have family support but for those who donâ€™t, ending up sleeping on the streets is a scarily close reality.â€
Barcelona has more than 3,000 homeless who sleep on the streets.
The principle is borrowed from similar programs that have already launched in the UK. In Bath, Secret City Tours is staffed by formerly homeless people as is Unseen Tours in London.
Hidden City Tours last an hour and a half and include visits to the Cathedral Cloister, the Roman City, Placa del Rei and Placa del Pi.
Tours are available in both English and Spanish. Tickets cost 10Â euros and launch October 11.