Students, the elderly, history buffs and tour operators — these are the kinds of people who typically guide visitors on sightseeing expeditions around their city. But Barcelona is proving tour guides really do come from all walks of life, thanks to a new program that puts homeless people in charge of leading tourists.
The Spanish city says it’s aiming to improve the lives of the unemployed and give tourists a unique perspective on the city by offering some of Barcelona’s 3,000 homeless people the chance to guide travelers on the Hidden City Tours walk. The tour will provide visitors with a historic look at the city and hopes to open their eyes to the “social reality” of the region.The concept was inspired by a similar program employing homeless guides in Britain. The tours will begin in mid-October and be available in English and Spanish.
However, it’s not just in Europe where you’ll find travel industry workers who are homeless. The New York Times revealed today that many of the Big Apple’s homeless shelter residents hold down several jobs, including positions as security guards at JFK Airport.
I guess it’s a bad sign that this deal has been extended. Popular demand, however, has prompted the management of the Rabbit Hill Inn to stretch out its “Pink Slip Getaway Giveaway” program. Originally planned to run through the end of the year, it’s now going to last until April 2010. Every month – except September and October, the Rabbit Hill Inn will pony up at least one two-night getaway fro a couple that has been unemployed for at least six months. Hey, if it makes unemployment easier, why not?
“We initially planned to run the Pink Slip Getaway Giveaway program from April through December 2009, giving one getaway away per month,” co-owner Leslie Mulcahy said. “However, we received so many entries, we gave away additional getaways during the last few months, she continued, “Choosing the winners has been the toughest part.” So, the only solution was to give away more!
The conditions are pretty straightforward. You have to be at least 25 years old and been out of work for half a year or longer. Once you arrive, everything else is covered .. including a rabbit’s foot. To join, e-mail your story in a page or less to info [at] rabbithillinn.com.