Am­bas­sadors to add to Wanaka ex­pe­ri­ence

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

Wanaka is join­ing a suc­cess­ful ed­u­ca­tion ini­tia­tive to help res­i­dents im­prove visi­tors’ ex­pe­ri­ence of the re­sort town. The Queen­stown Re­sort Col­lege has in­tro­duced its Am­bas­sador Pro­gramme to Wanaka af­ter a pi­lot launch with key Wanaka busi­ness­peo­ple and com­mu­nity mem­bers was held last week. The pro­gramme in­volves par­tic­i­pants tak­ing a short course which pro­vides in­ter­est­ing and use­ful in­for­ma­tion on Wanaka’s his­tory, cul­ture and of­fer­ings which could then be passed into visi­tors. Once the course was com­pleted, par­tic­i­pants be­come part of the Am­bas­sador com­mu­nity – wear­ing a recog­nis­able black badge and rep­re­sent­ing Wanaka to the world. Col­lege chief ex­ec­u­tive Char­lie Phillips said the pro­gramme recog­nised the value of visi­tors and gave par­tic­i­pants a pos­i­tive mind­set to help hol­i­day­mak­ers. ‘‘The more a res­i­dent – short-term or long-term – un­der­stands about their en­vi­ron­ment, its his­tory and ge­ogra- phy, the more they can con­sis­tently con­trib­ute to that re­gion,’’ Mr Phillips said. ‘‘Tourists’ spend­ing supports lo­cal busi­nesses and in turn the lo­cal com­mu­nity. It’s about re­spect­ing visi­tors, mak­ing a dif­fer­ence and fo­cus­ing on the things that cost you noth­ing,’’ he said. The Wanaka Cham­ber of Com­merce asked the col­lege to cre­ate a pro­gramme spe­cific to Wanaka af­ter it in­tro­duced a Queen­stown Am­bas­sador last year. So far, 400 peo­ple have taken part in the Queen­stown pro­gramme. Cham­ber chair­man Alis­tair King said the pro­gramme could fo­cus on Wanaka’s diver­sity. Cham­ber vice chair­man An­drew MacKen­zie said ‘‘it doesn’t have to be just for hos­pi­tal­ity, ac­com­mo­da­tion and tourist work­ers. The pro­gramme is de­signed for those who have lived here for many years through to those who have been here only a few weeks.’’ To reg­is­ter email Wanaka@qrc.ac.nz or call (03) 409 0500.

Photo: CHE BAKER

Team Wanaka: Lake Wanaka Tourism gen­eral man­ager James Hel­more, Queen­stown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden, Queen­stown Re­sort Col­lege learn­ing and de­vel­op­ment man­ager Fiona Boyer, Maori teacher Jeromy van Riel, col­lege chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Char­lie Phillips, Snow Sports NZ chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Marty Toomey and col­lege pres­i­dent An­drew MacKen­zie at the launch of the Wanaka Am­bas­sador Pro­gramme last week.

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