A tour operator in NYC uses tourism as a tool to fund other small businesses and hopes to inspire visitors to learn about the untold story surrounding the Big Apple.
Stacey Toussaint is President and Founder of Inside Out Tours, a black women-run tour company with a social mission to raise marginalized voices.
For Toussaint, tourism is not just about exploring classic city hotspots, but also a way to educate visitors and boost the economy by connecting New Yorkers with international travelers.
When tourism is done properly, tourism can actually step in the void and generate revenue to keep the institutions open. We give part of our income to the churches we visit.
President and Founder of Inside Out Tours
Aside from taking advantage of tourism, this business owner believes there are creative ways to create an economic foundation for other institutions to survive.
Unlike other tour operator owners, Toussaint purposely takes guests off the beaten path onto less traveled roads and acts as a bridge between districts and visitors.
“Our philosophy is that tourism should be bottom-up, not top-down. I think the top-down approach has sometimes created tension between tour operators and local communities, “Toussaint told NBC New York.
She believes that tourists have a certain responsibility before entering a neighborhood.
There is an obligation on her to respect the heritage and history of this community by avoiding preconceived notions about how things should be and instead trying to become more of a student.
This story is part of a series that follows small business owners through the pandemic. Click here to see all of the stories that are part of NBC Local’s “Rebound” project.