Thanks to generous sponsorship from Standard Bank, in collaboration with SFM, the Francois Ferreira Academy has completed a second successful Tourism Ambassador Course in Knysna and there are another 16 ambassadors in town who are qualified to assist tourists in the Greater Knysna area.
According to Denise Lindley, Vice Principal for the Francois Ferreira Academy the courses are not just a wonderful opportunity to empower local residents with knowledge about the area, but also result in a fantastic service to visitors. “I’m also delighted to confirm that this course has now been accredited with Services Seta under their Ambassador Course, and is set to go from strength to strength in the Garden Route.”
The successful candidates all wrote a short test on completion of the course and received a certificate from the Francois Ferreira Academy as well as a Knysna Ambassador badge with the Knysna Tourism logo at their graduation on 26 July. They will be required to do a one-day refresher course every six months to keep them up to date with any changes to tourism businesses, new attractions in the area, and so on.
Businesses who sent their employers to do the course receive a poster for display which states that they belong to the Tourism Ambassador Programme.
Chairperson of Knysna Tourism, Elmay Bouwer said that it’s a global trend to have roving ambassadors assisting visitors with information about a town’s attractions, accommodation establishments, restaurants and activity options. “We can reach far more visitors this way,” said Bouwer, and it’s a fantastic service to offer tourists. In total, following the two Francois Ferreira Academy courses this year, Knysna now has 36 qualified ambassadors. We are very grateful to the academy for running these courses and to the sponsors for making them happen. Thank you too to the many local businesses who encouraged their employees to attend the courses.”
The successful candidates are: Leandre Christoffels - Ocean Odyssey; Desmond Visser; Maurita Borcherds-Hendricks - Hello Gorgeous; Candice Gertser and Nontobeko Matshekethe - 34 South; Bafana Ndlovu and Sonja van Tonder - Muse Fusion Food; Xolile Lincoln Liwani, Dumisani Wisman Nkosi and Runell Draai - Belvidere Manor; Lenard Mloyiswe Mdluli - Madison Manor; Mapolo Siphosethu - The Russell Hotel; Bianca Malgas and Dezlin Oliver – Sirocco; Michael Olivier – Villa Castollini; and Snyman Zoliswa - Thesen Island Style.
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.