Native Harlemite Neal Shoemaker, started Harlem Heritage Tours in 1998, after realizing the opportunity that tourism offers Harlem to preserve its culture and contribute to the development of the local economy. All tours and events are conducted by those who were actually born and raised in Harlem. When we started Harlem Heritage Tours ten years ago, many thought that visitors would be reluctant to visit the community. But to our pleasant surprise, we were happy to realize that the public was thirsty for authentic experiences presented via the eyes of those who are actually from Harlem. Customers have expressed to us that they want the heritage of Harlem to come alive.
Working with community partners, such as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Apollo Theater, Harlem Heritage Tours have developed a series of multimedia bus / walking tours that present archival video and sound at the very sight where history happened – this method keeps the human touch while bringing the past to life – this is a first in the industry. Across the planet individuals and organizations are exploring ways to incorporate community involvement into the design and development of tourism products and services. The goal is to respect the privacy and integrity of those who live and work in Harlem, and at the same time expose visitors to all that makes Harlem special. Because of our sensitivity, we receive more support from grass roots Harlem than any other tourism company in the community. Over the past ten years we have meet people from all over the world and we feel that tourism is a great tool to promote positive domestic relationships and heightened foreign diplomacy.
We look forward to another exciting ten years in the business and look forward to seeing you in Harlem soon.