There has been an overwhelming response to the Tourism Ambassador Course that is being sponsored by Skål International and coordinated by the Francois Ferreira Academy, in association with Knysna Tourism.
According to Denise Lindley, Vice Principal for the Francois Ferreira Academy, nearly 50 applicants were interviewed this week at the Knysna Municipal Library, including parking attendants, staff from local restaurants, accommodation establishments, petrol stations, and even a beauty salon.
“I’m delighted with the response,” enthused Lindley. “There is clearly a great need for this kind of skills training in Knysna and although we can only select 20 applicants for this course, we hope to be able to do more courses in the future, and will keep all the applicants on file.”
The three-day course which runs 7-9 March is aimed at staff employed in the tourism industry to enable them to assist with information about Knysna. It will be run by Debbie Thomas, a lecturer at the Academy. The cost of the course is R1,000 per person but the course is being sponsored by Skål International and so fees have been waived.
Knysna Tourism worked with Cheryl Britz, Chairperson of the Knysna Community Police Forum, to identify a number of parking attendants who would benefit from the course. Knysna Tourism Chairperson Elmay Bouwer explained: “If their applications are successful, Knysna Tourism will pay them a daily fee to attend the course so that they will not be out of pocket for missing three days’ work.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for all people who interface with tourists to learn the skills and be empowered to promote various aspects of Knysna to our visitors,” Bouwer said. “As Chairperson of Knysna Tourism and a member of Skål, I’m very proud of this initiative and thankful for the role that Skål’s international members continue to play to assist with local tourism and skills training.”
The successful applicants will be required to write a short test on completion of the course, in order to receive a certificate from the Francois Ferreira Academy. They will also be required to do a refresher one-day course every six months to keep them up to date with changes, new attractions and so on.
The one day course will cost R300.
On successfully completing the course, participants will be given a Knysna Ambassador badge with the Knysna Tourism logo, and a sticker for the establishment they work for, to say that they belong to the Tourism Ambassador Programme.