Over 20 local tourism providers were in attendance at an event hosted by Carrickfergus Enterprise to mark completion of the World Host Ambassador training course. The course was part of the Coastal Tourism Hub developed and managed by Carrickfergus Enterprise. The Hub has 30 tourism providers on board with participants ranging from B & B’s, self catering, coffee shops, Golf Club and Sailing Club.
The course, delivered by Northern Regional College, is designed to give staff the skills to deliver a warm and friendly welcome to customers and content covered included Principles of Customer Service. They also participated on a familiarization trip designed to improve their knowledge of local landmarks and attractions with the group visiting The Gobbins and Carrickfergus Castle.
Kelli Bagchus, Manager of Carrickfergus Enterprise, says “Recent media reports have highlighted that visitor numbers to Northern Ireland are at an all time high with external overnight trips up by 5%, reaching 2.3 billion. The Hub is designed to highlight many of the hidden gems on the coastal route which are perhaps not often visible to potential visitors. We believe opportunities arising from the increase in tourism visitors as well as continued interest in The Gobbins, can assist local tourism providers to compete in the Global market and encourage visitors to choose the local area as their chosen destination. By completing World Host training, our local businesses are geared up to ensure that they can provide world class customer service to visitors to the area.”
Participants recently attended an event to mark completion of the course and course certificates were presented to them by The Mayor of Mid and East Borough Council, Cllr Bill Ashe. “Our citizens are already well known for their ability to deliver a warm, friendly and genuine welcome to customers and other visitors alike, so it is especially pleasing to officially celebrate local success through World Host Ambassador training,” he said.
The Coastal Tourism Hub is currently in its final stages with participants benefiting from a range of support over the last 12 months, including social media training and ICT support to implement online booking systems as well as mystery shopping and business mentoring. A visitor map for the area has recently been published and a joint website will be completed in June to further enhance the joint marketing campaign.
The Coastal Hub project is funded by The Coastal Communities Fund, which is funded by the Government with income from the Crown Estates Marine Assets. It is delivered by the Big Lottery Fund on behalf of the UK Government and the devolved administration in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.