With less than six months to go until London 2012, hospitality businesses are being urged to ensure they're prepared to make the most of the games opportunities.
People 1st, the Sector Skills Council for hospitality, travel and tourism, has adapted the WorldHost customer service training programme that was developed in Canada and used successfully at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
The programme, which is currently being used to train companies across the UK, has been awarded the London 2012 Inspire Mark as recognition for its objective in supporting the legacy themes of the games.
The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is using WorldHost to train around 50 volunteers who will be ambassadors for Dorney Lakes, a host venue for the rowing, kayak and paralympic rowing events, which are expected to attract up to 30,000 spectators per day.
As international visitors are expected across the UK, North Tyneside Council also ordered WorldHost training, which it made available to a variety of local businesses including accommodation providers, front of house staff, tourist information centres and staff at the Port of Tyne, which welcomes ferries from Amsterdam.
Jonathan Barrand, tourism development officer at North Tyneside Council, said: "The people of the North-east have a reputation for being among the friendliest in the country and in North Tyneside we want to retain and even improve that reputation by making sure everyone receives a great customer service experience."
Sharon Glancy, director of the People 1st Training Company, added: "Half a million people are expected to arrive in the UK for the Olympics and they are predicted to generate £2b in tourism during and after the games.
"With only six months to go and the challenge clear, businesses need to ask themselves if they are ready for a surge in international guests in the short term and a steady increase in local tourism for the period immediately after the games."
Ahead of the Olympics, a guide for businesses prepared by People 1st on how to prepare for visitors during the games, can be downloaded by visiting www.people1st.co.uk/preparing-for-2012.
By Janie Stamford
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