Twenty volunteers from Plymouth University School of Tourism and Hospitality will play a key part in welcoming visitors to Plymouth in a new pilot scheme.
Plymouth Hosts is due to be launched today (27 November) by Destination Plymouth working in partnership with the City Centre and Waterfront partnership Business Improvement Districts.
They have been selected to welcome visitors at key entry points, busy parts of the City Centre and waterfront and events in Plymouth.
The student volunteers will provide an excellent visitor welcome and information for those who arrive in the city. They will also support communication to local businesses.
All volunteers will be dressed with eye-catching purple Plymouth Hosts uniforms which have been sponsored by Drake Circus Shopping Centre who have also paid for training, through their ‘World Host’ training scheme.
Volunteers will not only receive this training but have also had Plymouth Product training courtesy of the City Council through the Tourism Information Centre staff in The Barbican. The volunteers will be able to develop customer service skills and will be mentored as part of the programme; receiving accreditation once they have completed the programme.
This programme is part of Destination Plymouth’s aim to grow Plymouth’s visitor economy with a view to increasing tourism visits by over 20% to over 5 million by 2020.
Amanda Lumley, Chief Executive of Destination Plymouth said: “We want to make sure that every visitor to Plymouth gets a warm welcome and a great experience so that they want to return again and bring their friends and family with them. Destination Plymouth is proud to be working in partnership with Plymouth University, Drake Circus and our wider partners on this programme. This will be great for Plymouth as Britain’s Ocean City.”
Drake’s Circus is one of the South West regions’ largest shopping centre. They wish to provide ‘World class’ customer service to their visitors and customers as well as supporting local students and employees through providing training, skills development and community engagement opportunities.
Greg Lumley, Centre Director said: "Drake Circus Shopping Centre and British Land are delighted to be working with Destination Plymouth to support the World Host Training and uniforms. A great customer experience is at the core of the Drake Circus Shopping Centre offer and we believe that the World Host Programme will contribute substantially to Plymouth’s increasing ability to deliver a world class visitor experience.”
Plymouth University has one of the UK’s leading schools for tourism and hospitality, with over 600 students on courses in tourism, hospitality and events management.
Professor Paul Brunt, Head of the School of Tourism and Hospitality at Plymouth University, said: “Plymouth is the perfect place to acquire the skills needed to succeed in the tourism industry. The city’s inspiring location, and our first class teaching and learning, have resulted in many of our graduates going on to high profile roles across the globe. The Plymouth Hosts programme is the kind of initiative that sets us apart from the crowd, and will enable the participating students to get invaluable experience that will help them succeed in their future careers.”
Working in partnership with Destination Plymouth on this programme is Plymouth City Council, Plymouth University, Drake Circus Shopping Centre, Plymouth City Centre Company and Plymouth Waterfront Partnership.
Deputy Council Leader Peter Smith said: “The Plymouth Hosts programme is great for Plymouth and a brilliant opportunity for volunteers. It will help the Plymouth tourism and the visitor economy in the lead up to 2020. We are really pleased that so many partner organisations have worked together to make this possible it is great news for the City."