Ambassadors to add to Wanaka experience
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.
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.