Wanaka joins initiative to leave lasting impression
January 15, 2014
Wanaka is joining a successful education initiative that sees locals improving the experience for people visiting the resort town.
Queenstown Resort College is introducing its popular Ambassador Programme to Wanaka with a pilot launch on January 15. It’s a course for local residents – designed to give friendly, positive information about the resort to visitors.
The Wanaka Ambassador programme is for everyone in Wanaka, not just front-line staff. Participants take a short, affordable course that provides interesting and useful information on Wanaka’s history, culture and offerings. Once the course is completed, participants become part of the Ambassador community – wearing a recognisable black badge and representing Wanaka to the world.
Queenstown Resort College chief executive Charlie Phillips says the programme recognises the value of visitors and gives participants a positive mindset to help holidaymakers.
“The more a resident – short-term or long-term – understands about their environment, its history and geography, the more they can consistently contribute to that region,” he says.
“Wanaka Ambassador is a fun, informative programme that provides participants with accurate information and an understanding of visitor expectations to ultimately allow for better visitor and community experiences.”
“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,” Phillips adds.
The Wanaka Chamber of Commerce asked Queenstown Resort College to create an Ambassador programme specific to Wanaka after QRC introduced its Queenstown Ambassador last year.
“Wanaka Ambassador improves the visitors’ experience of Wanaka through the engagement with locals. We’d like our members to take part so businesses can enhance the knowledge of their staff,” Chamber vice chairman Andrew MacKenzie says.
“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 for only a few weeks – so they can share information about their home town with others.”
Wanaka Ambassador follows the introduction of Queenstown Ambassador in June 2013. To date, 400 people have taken part in the Queenstown programme. Locals across the region helped develop Wanaka Ambassador and it has the backing of Queenstown Lakes District Council and Lake Wanaka Tourism.
The Wanaka Ambassador programme is scheduled to run for three hours every second Wednesday at Lake Wanaka Hotel and costs $30+GST per person to attend. Only one session is necessary to become an Ambassador. The first programme, on January 15, is a pilot launch. Wanaka Ambassador then commences weekly from January 29. There are places for up to 24 participants each session. To register, email Wanaka@qrc.ac.nz or call (03) 409 0500.