Friendly street ambassadors boost tourism effort

LIMERICK’S pioneering street ambassadors yesterday began work for their third tourism season.

Last summer the 12 roving guides greeted and assisted more than 18,000 visitors. The project, spearheaded by the Limerick Co-ordination Office (LCO), is being replicated in Dublin. LCO chairwoman Kay McGuinness said they are delighted with the success of the street ambassadors’ programme over the past two years.

A survey conducted by the LCO last year found the street ambassadors helped visitors from 64 different countries, the majority of whom thought the programme should be copied by every other Irish city.

Ms McGuinness said: “This is a unique project Limerick can be proud of... I am delighted to see that six of our experienced street ambassadors, including our team leader Jean Ryan, are returning to work with us again this summer — it will be of great benefit to our six new recruits.”

The Limerick project was a pilot, funded by an EU programme that has now ended. This year it is being run with funding from Shannon Development and the private sector in Limerick.

Eoghan Prendergast of Shannon Development said: “We probably don’t appreciate as much as we should that Limerick has a very good reputation amongst visitors as a really friendly and accessible city in which to spend a very enjoyable time. “While this is mainly because our local people are so naturally welcoming, the presence of the street ambassadors throughout the city makes a visit here one that stands out in the minds of our visitors.”

This year’s ambassadors range in age from 16 to over 65 and includes students, retired people and the unemployed. They have undergone an training course in local history, first aid, communications skills and basic phrases in four languages — French, Spanish, German and Italian.

They will walk three different routes every day giving advice and help to tourists and locals, and this summer will have the benefit of a booklet on Limerick produced and edited by street ambassador Eithne Deloughrey O’Byrne and backed by Limerick Civic Trust.

The 2008 programme will run for 10 weeks until September.


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