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Tourism industry employees’ flash mob Welcome to Tyne and Wear Visitors

27th July 2010

Categories: Latest News

Tourism industry employees’ flash mob Welcome to Tyne and Wear Visitors

A flash mob of employees from across Tyne and Wear’s tourism industry gathered at the Angel of the North this morning armed with a GIANT welcome sign. Employees from businesses including Tyne and Wear Archive and Museums, The Custom’s House in South Shields, Blue Reef Aquarium in Tynemouth and Washington Wetland Centre gathered at the Angel to put into practice the famous North East welcome that makes the area so popular with visitors from around the world.  

The group were there to celebrate the launch of Welcome to Tyne and Wear, a free destination induction programme developed specifically for tourism industry employees by Tourism Tyne and Wear and the North East Hotels Association. 

Damon Roberts, Chair of the North East Hotels Association and General Manager at the County Hotel by Thistle, Newcastle said; “The welcome visitors receive when they come to Tyne and Wear is one of our strongest attributes and we recognise the strength of a first-class welcome in encouraging visitors to come back to the area time after time. 

“Working with Tourism Tyne and Wear we have developed a strong programme that can be easily integrated into the induction training of any tourism business, big or small, giving front line employees invaluable insight into what the destination has to offer, and how as individuals, they can positively impact on the growth of tourism in Tyne and Wear.” 

Welcome to Tyne and Wear is a fully funded destination awareness and customer service training programme for all front-line tourism and hospitality employees in Tyne and Wear. Suitable for anyone who comes into contact with visitors, the training comprises a three hour workshop with DVD and participants guide, and a two hour walking tour of key destinations within the area with a Blue Badge Guide.  

Tourism Tyne and Wear’s Business Relationship manager Paul Szomoru said; “Tyne and Wear is such a varied destination, we have cities, coast and countryside that are all easily accessible using the Metro, Shields Ferry and buses. 

“What we are trying to achieve with the training is a tourism workforce that work together across the area and are well equipped with information to advise visitors on the best places to stay, play and relax no matter what their budget or interests. 

“A great welcome is more than just a polite hello on arrival, it’s going the extra mile to make sure the visitor has all the information they need to make their stay the very best it can be, whether they are visiting for just one day, a weekend or longer.” 

The training includes sessions on who visits the area and where from, the size and significance of tourism to the region, and the history and heritage of the destination charting 2000 years since the Roman period, through the industrial revolution, right up to the modern day. 

Leanne McCormella, Marketing Manager at WWT Washington Wetland Centre said; “Meeting visitors from across the country and the world everyday makes working in the tourism industry really interesting. 

“We regularly have visitors who ask us where’s a good place to dine or visit, and as individuals we all have our favourite places that we like to recommend. The great thing about Welcome to Tyne and Wear is that it’s giving us as locals and industry employees the knowledge to recommend places we aren’t even aware of.” 

Tim Flood from The Custom’s House said; “Welcome to Tyne and Wear is a great idea and definitely a programme we’ll be encouraging all of the staff at The Custom’s House to get involved in. Tyne and Wear has such a wide range of attractions and events all year round and it makes sense for everyone working in the industry to have knowledge of the kinds of things visitors would be interested in.

“South Shields is a fantastic destination filled with interesting historical sites, a beautiful coastline and family friendly attractions. Ensuring the team at The Customs House can talk confidently to visitors about what the destination has to offer is ultimately going to ensure they have a great time while they’re here.” 

Anna Etchells, Marketing Manager at Blue Reef Aquarium said; “Working at an attraction like Blue Reef Aquarium means I get excited about all the great events that we have going on, but being given the chance to step into the shoes of the visitor and find out what else we can do to make their visit an outstanding one is a fantastic opportunity. 

“Tyne and Wear has such a diverse range of attractions, in Tynemouth alone we have a ruined castle, fantastic beaches and alternative shopping centre set in an old church; beyond that there are bustling cities and breathtaking countryside that we as an industry should have the knowledge to talk about confidently.”

Welcome to Tyne and Wear is available free to all businesses who come into contact with visitors from hotel concierge to waiters; museum curators to taxi drivers; and from large organisations to SMEs. Businesses wishing to sign-up for the training programme should contact Paul Szomoru, 

Media Contact: Shelley Staines, Media and PR Manager, Tourism Tyne and Wear 0191 440 5739/07717 631 109

Notes to Editors
• Tourism Tyne and Wear is the Area Tourism Partnership for Tyne and Wear.
• The partnership is made up of key stakeholders involved in delivering, developing and promoting the visitor experience in Tyne & Wear and is supported by Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Council, Sunderland city Council, South Tyneside Council and North Tyneside Council, and NewcastleGateshead Initiative.
• Tourism Tyne and Wear is a key partner in the Tourism Network North East. Along with the ATPs in Durham, Northumberland and Tees Valley and the tourism team based within One North East.
• Tourism is worth £1.97billion to the economy in Tyne and Wear in 2008
• In 2008 Tyne and Wear attracted 39.1 million visitors from the UK and overseas
• Tourism in Tyne and Wear supports more than 30,000 jobs

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