WITH visitor numbers on the up, Limerick’s pioneering street ambassadors have returned for another summer season of helping tourists around the city.
The initiative - which has been taken on in other cities since it was established on Shannonside eight years ago - is now under the management of the Limerick Marketing Company, a move that is reflected in a change of uniforms to Limerick green.
They begin walking the streets this Wednesday and while they may have a new look, Limerick Marketing Company CEO Eoghan Prendergast has promised that visitors to the city can expect the same Limerick welcome. It is estimated that they have assisted 100,000 visitors to the city - by helping them to their destination or recommending a place to stay, eat or shop - since 2006.
“Limerick has so much going for it. We have a fantastic collection of ever-improving visitor attractions, an excellent stock of quality accommodation and our people are also a fantastic asset as they are known for their friendliness. Having street ambassadors on hand adds to the quality experience that we want visitors to have when they come here. It ensures Limerick makes a fantastic first impression and first impressions do last,” said Mr Prendergast.
And Ivan Tuohy, manager of the Clarion Hotel and spokesman for the Limerick Hotels Association, said the work they did was much appreciated by visitors.
“We get feedback all the time from hotel guests who were assisted by the street ambassadors as to how helpful they were. This level of customer service from the city is not experienced in too many places across the world. It makes a really good impression with tourists as it is not something they expected but are delighted to get,” said Mr Tuohy.
With new services into Shannon this summer and with more attractions to visit thanks to City of Culture and other initiatives, Mr Prendergast anticipates busy weeks ahead for the team.
“We have more reason this year than ever to have the street ambassadors back. King John’s Castle was reopened last year after a €6m redevelopment and is exceeding all expectations in terms of visitor numbers. We have a number of big weekends this summer, including Culture and Chips just gone and the World Club Sevens here in August,” he said.
The ambassadors have all undergone an intensive course in local history, first aid, communications skills and basic foreign language training. They will walk two different routes every day covering Limerick city centre.
The green team also assist Limerick City and County Council by reporting litter offences, graffiti and other issues that need attention.