Bridge the Gap: How Tourism Can Transform Your Community

Inside Out Tours operator, Stacey Toussaint uses tourism as a mechanism to sustain the economy while educating visitors on the hidden history of New York City.

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

One NYC tour operator is utilizing tourism as a tool to financially support other small businesses while hoping to inspire visitors to learn more about the untold history surrounding the Big Apple.

Stacey Toussaint is the president and founder of Inside Out Tours, a Black woman-owned tour company with a social mission to elevate marginalized voices.

To Toussaint, tourism is not just about exploring classic city hotspots but a way to educate visitors and boost the economy by connecting New Yorkers with international travelers.

If tourism is done correctly, tourism can actually step in the gap and provide revenue to keep institutions open. The churches that we visit we give a portion of our revenue to.

Stacey Toussaint
President & Founder, Inside Out Tours

While using tourism, this business owner believes that there are creative ways to build an economic foundation so that other institutions can survive.

Unlike other tour company owners, Toussaint intentionally brings guests off the beaten path to roads less traveled, acting as the bridge between the boroughs and visitors.

"Our philosophy is that tourism should be from the bottom up not the top down. I think the top-down approach is what created tension at times between tour companies and local communities," Toussaint told NBC New York.

She believes that tourists have a certain responsibility before entering a neighborhood.

To her, there is an obligation to respect the heritage and history of that community by avoiding preconceived notions on how things should be and rather seek to come more as a student.

This story is part of a series following small business owners through the pandemic. To view all stories part of NBC Local’s “Rebound” project, click here.

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