Westport’s Activity Ambassadors put pep in step of tourists
WESTPORT’S bid to be the Adventure Capital of Ireland has been further confirmed with the establishment of a team of Activity Ambassadors, understood to be the first such service in the country. It is an added service for the busy tourism haven and complements the town’s Smarter Travel status. The basic concept is that the ambassador will welcome the more leisurely visitor to the town and inform and direct them about its facilities as well as its many activities, linking also into the Greenway and Westport House.
Westport Activity Ambassadors is a Jobbridge initiative run as a partnership between Westport Town Council and Westport Tourism Organisation. The three ambassadors are Lorella Erranni, a PE teacher by profession, Paul Collins, a former leisure industry worker and Jennifer Walsh, a Kilkenny native, who previously worked in administration.
“Our basic remit is to get tourists and the community more active. We are not focussing on the Gaelforce type of person but more at those who like leisurely activities,” says Jennifer Walsh.
‘Westport in a Jiffy’ is one activity already hailed as popular by visitors. It involves a walk that can last from 20 minutes to an hour and guides people to all the main access points, side-streets, routes to the Quay and Westport House, as well as the Greenway.
“Sometimes people arrive in Westport as part of a tour for a few hours or overnight and they don’t realise they are so close to the sea and Clew Bay and that they could easily experience this,” says Lorella Eranni.
Paul Collins adds: “For example we met members of a CIE International Tour that arrived in the town recently at 7pm and were due to leave early the next morning. We brought about 20 of them around the town and afterwards they went to the shops and were delighted. They said without our help they wouldn’t have discovered the side streets and places such as market lane.”
Paul said the ambassadors ensure they don’t ‘promote any particular business over another’ and always give general information about all the various facilities in the town.
Westport Activity ambassadors are based at the town’s Leisure Centre and are being mentored by Dermott Langan.
He explained that this pilot phase of the project will last for a nine-month period and then after a review will continue.
“The basic aim of the project is to further enhance the visitor experience and to get them more involved in the activities in the town. Then, in the off-season the ambassadors will liaise with various community and residents groups in a bit to get Westport more active,” Dermott Langan said.
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