Local Port Melbourne Volunteers Roll Out The Red Carpet & Welcome International Visitors To Melbourne!
A group of local volunteers from the Melbourne seaside suburb of Port Melbourne – have formed an allegiance called the “Waterfront Welcomers” and will be rolling out the welcome mat and handing out free lamingtons at Station Pier in Port Melbourne to all international cruise ship passengers as they arrive during the 2016/2017 season launching on October 29, 2016.
Acting as ambassadors for City of Port Phillip, the “Waterfront Welcomers” volunteers will be awaiting international and national cruise ship passengers from October 2016 to May 2017 – throwing their very own welcoming party and offering free Port Melbourne Rickshaw Rides to visiting international guests.
Waterfront Welcomers will be making these visitors right at feel at home and inviting them to enjoy the many attractions in Port Melbourne and the wider Port Phillip area – on this colourful transport initiative developed by the local traders association.
“The free rickshaw rides take passengers through the main streets of Port Melbourne exposing them to the stunning surrounds of the beach side suburb and array of locally owned retail shops, cafes and restaurants down the main Bay Street strip and will hopefully encourage visitors to stay local and experience the very best of Port Melbourne” said President of the Port Melbourne Business Association – Paul Littman.*
The program is funded by a City of Port Phillip Community Strengthening grant and managed by Inner South Community Health as part of the ironically named Social Health & Inclusion Port initiative (SHIP). They have introduced the ‘Waterfront Welcomers’ at Station Pier to offer friendly help and assistance to passengers as they disembark on their journey off the cruise.
“With the first cruise ship arriving on Saturday, October 29, this season is expected to be the busiest yet – as each year over a million people move through the Port Melbourne Waterfront and Beach St area – including 180,000 cruise ship passengers, 20,000 crew and 330,698 Spirit of Tasmania passengers per year*” –said Littman.
As the popularity of cruise ship holidays grows, the number of people visiting the Pier has more than doubled in the past five years, however results from a passenger survey conducted by Tourism Victoria in 2012/2013, showed that visiting cruise ship passengers were less likely to have visited the immediate area around the terminal – Port Melbourne – and only 13% visiting the St Kilda precinct and surrounding suburbs.
As a result, the local council has once again initiated the Waterfront Welcomers program in a bid to reactivate the waterfront in Port Melbourne and divert travellers from the usual day trip destinations in Melbourne, such as Crown Casino.
Volunteers will be operating from a freshly renovated heritage building on Station Pier, named the ‘Local Information & Heritage Hub’, having access to a wealth of information on local history, heritage, culture, attractions and activities in the surrounding area.
Volunteers must undergo a training program that involves customer service skills, iPad training, knowledge of historical landmarks and walks, and invaluable information about the amenities and shopping available in Port Melbourne, before becoming a Waterfront Welcomer.
In its third year the program has contributed to making the waterfront area more vibrant and welcoming therefore encouraging visitors to stay locally.