Friday, 20 April 2012

 A team of volunteers, who have helped welcome more than 20,000 visitors to Thanet, have been thanked for their fantastic contribution to tourism by Thanet District Council.

The 70 strong team, who provide a valuable tourist information service at the Information Kiosks in Broadstairs and at The Customs House in Ramsgate, were invited to the council’s Visitor Information Centre at the Droit House in Margate this week (Tuesday 17 April).  

The event, coordinated by the council’s Visitor Information team, was an opportunity to thank the volunteers for their hard work, to celebrate their achievements over the past 12 months and to share the latest information on upcoming events and attractions for visitors ahead of the new summer season.

The volunteers are the first point of contact for many people new to the area. They are on hand to provide a range of visitor information including accommodation requests, travel enquiries, as well as information on the districts attractions and events.

Many of the volunteers have also been trained up to become Visitor Ambassadors as part of the council’s ongoing Visitor Ambassador Scheme.

Cabinet Member for Tourism, Cllr Iris Johnston, said: “The work of our volunteers has been fantastic and holding this event has been a great way to share our appreciation in person. It’s also been a good opportunity for the volunteers to meet with our Visitor Information Team and to share all of the latest tourism news, information and events.  With both the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Queens Jubilee to celebrate this year, it is vital that we continue to provide a strong visitor information presence across each of our towns. With what will arguably be one of our most important years for tourism, our volunteers will be an excellent way to ensure the thousands of visitors to Thanet receive the warmest possible welcome”.

Ray Irving, who lives and works as a volunteer in Broadstairs, has just completed his Visitor Ambassador training.  Ray said: “I’ve only been volunteering for three weeks but have already seen the benefits of being involved. As someone relatively new to the area it’s been a great way of becoming part of the Broadstairs community. Broadstairs is so unique, it’s a traditional seaside resort with gorgeous beaches nearby and there’s so much going on!”

Cherry Thompson, a volunteer at the Customs House in Ramsgate, said: “I used to teach English as a foreign language so thought volunteering to help out visitors would be ideal. We get asked all sorts of questions from where to buy fresh fish, to where the best place to take a one year old child is and someone also asked me how many places they could visit in Ramsgate in one hour! I’m really proud of what I do as a volunteer and of where I live. The amount of help and support we receive is great and makes me feel really confident about what I’m doing to promote the area”.

Roger Fennings, a volunteer at the Broadstairs Kiosk, said: “A key part of what I do is to communicate with visitors, and locals, just how much there is to do here, whatever the weather and for all ages! I’ve always fancied volunteering and now I have the time to spare it’s been a great way of sharing how proud I am to live here. There’s so much going on, we’ve got great places to explore, eat, drink and shop and I’m here to help to point people in the right direction!”


Broadstairs Information Kiosk
  • This is an initiative managed by Thanet District Council, Broadstairs Tourism and Leisure Association, Shepherd Neame’s Royal Albion Hotel, Broadstairs & St Peters Chamber of Commerce and Broadstairs & St Peter’s Town Council.
  • The Information Kiosk itself is managed by Barbara Wallace, who has recruited a team of 50 volunteers to ensure that the kiosk is open seven days a week.
  • In the first year of opening, for 2011, they assisted over 12,700 visitors and since reopening on 31st March this year, have assisted another 1000 visitors so far.

BRIK  - Lillyputt Mini Golf Broadstairs
  • The BRIK work in partnership with Lillyputt Mini Golf to provide helpful information to Broadstairs’ visitors.
  • The BRIK also supports Broadstairs Bandstand in offering advice and information to visitors.
  • The BRIK has a dedicated team of 10 volunteers which is led by Ken Wilson.
  • It’s currently in its fourth year of operation and is open at weekends during the Winter season (weather depending) and aims to be open seven days a week throughout late Spring, Summer and much of Autumn.

Ramsgate Visitor Information Centre – Customs House
  • This is an initiative supported and funded by Ramsgate Town Council.
  • The dedicated team of volunteers, who run the Information Centre, is managed by Ralph Hoult, who has organised for the team to be on hand to help visitors seven days a week.
  • The Information Centre assisted with approximately 10,000 visitors over the last year.

Thanet District Council’s role
  • The council has provided Ramsgate VIC and the Information Kiosk at Broadstairs with a state-of-the art touch-screen kiosk that lists up-to-date visitor information such as events listings, maps and accommodation and attraction information.
  • The council has also provided display racks and signage to each outlet and ensures that essential information such as visitor guides and maps are supplied to the teams on a weekly basis. TDC hold regular monthly meetings with each team to check progress and to offer further support.

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