Sherbrooke greeters met with success
When it comes to visiting a new place, it always helps to get the local point of view. Whether it’s learning that the run-down looking chip stand on the corner has the best food for miles around, or letting travellers know that the city they are visiting is the self-proclaimed world capital of gopher wrestling, locals often have the tips that can make or break a vacation. That’s the premise on which the Global Greeters Network was founded in New York City in 1992, and based on that successful model the concept has spread throughout the world in the years since, including, this past year, to Sherbrooke.
“There are 92 cities in the world that have greeters,” said Sherbrooke greeter Heather Keith “it’s basically a way to have locals show visitors around.”
Sherbrooke is the only city in Quebec to be a part of the network and one of only three cities in Canada, alongside Calgary and Toronto.
Keith said that she just recently signed up for the local bilingual program and has already taken two different groups around the city.
“It’s a nice way to meet people from away,” Keith said, sharing that she was already in the habit of taking visitors on the city’s mural circuit when the program director recruited her to be a greeter. “I think it’s an interesting concept.”
Every city in the Global Greeters Network is free to set up their program differently, as long as they ascribe to the same set of core values: 1) Greeters are volunteers, a friendly face for those visiting a city/destination. 2) Greeters welcome individuals and may serve small groups of up to six people. 3) Meeting a Greeter is free of charge. 4) Visitors are welcomed without any kind of discrimination. 5) Greeter programs support sustainable tourism, respecting natural and man- made environments to bring both cultural and economical enrichment to the local communities with the aim of creating a lasting positive image of each destination. 6) Greeter programs create a mutually enriching opportunity for cultural exchange and create links between ordinary people in creating a better world.
CONT’D ON PAGE 3
Greeter Luc Ouellette accompanying a group of four visitors to Sherbrooke.