Destination Ambassador training for Blue Mountains taxi drivers

Blue Mountains taxi drivers are being trained to be tourism advocates in an innovative pilot program.

Eleven taxi drivers, from Katoomba Taxis, attended Destination Ambassador training in October. It is the first time the program, a Blue Mountains City Council and TAFE NSW initiative, has been offered to the local taxi industry.

Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill said Destination Ambassador training has previously been run for 10 of council’s visitor information centre (VIC) staff.

Director of Katoomba Taxis, Mike Hayden, one of the taxi drivers who participated in Destination Ambassador training recently.

Director of Katoomba Taxis, Mike Hayden, one of the taxi drivers who participated in Destination Ambassador training recently.

“Council trialled its Destination Ambassador program over the peak Christmas/New Year period last year where our visitor information centre staff provided directions, advice and/or user-friendly maps to more than 6000 domestic and international visitors as they arrived and exited at Katoomba Station,” said Cr Greenhill.

“Also encouraging local taxi drivers to become advocates for the Blue Mountains makes perfect sense. Taxi drivers are often the first locals to come face to face with visitors, when they get off the train, and who better to recommend what our beautiful region has to offer.”

Mike Hayden, director of Katoomba Taxis, said drivers were delighted to be involved in Destination Ambassador training.

“This initiative has presented Katoomba Taxis with an excellent opportunity for developing collaboration and engagement with the council, TAFE and other Blue Mountains tourism stakeholders to drive the future of tourism in the area,” he said.

“The focus on excellence in customer service and in depth knowledge of the upper Blue Mountains area (as well as local businesses and tourist attractions) will further enhance the taxi service, not only for our regular customers but also for the growing numbers of visitors to this world heritage area.”

Almost 80 small business owners – including local tourist operators – also attended our low cost online marketing training workshop on October 23. The session covered 100-plus low cost marketing ideas and was run in conjunction with the Western Sydney Business Centre.

Recent tourism industry training sessions, the state’s best-performing visitor information centre at Echo Point, as well as the new industry-led tourist information centre at the top of Katoomba Street are ensuring visitors are getting the full picture when visiting the upper Blue Mountains.

“The Blue Mountains is one of only a handful of leading international tourism brands within NSW,” said Cr Greenhill.

“Our Destination Management Plan was developed to guide the sustainable investment, marketing and promotion of the Blue Mountains region as a desirable destination and to support visitor demand. Visitor growth must be sustainable and balance with the needs of local residents. And getting the right combination of contemporary visitor information services at Katoomba, the peak tourism hub, is vital.”