Do you know Wellington like the back of your hand, and can put on a smile at 7am? Then Wellington's i-SITE centre wants you.
With the cruise ship season continuing to grow, the number of passengers expected in the city this year has reached 155,000, from a record 93 ships.
To cope with the influx of tourists from all over the world, the centre is hoping to attract 30 extra volunteers to act as ambassadors for Wellington.
Victoria University senior lecturer in tourism management Karen Smith first volunteered as an ambassador last year after doing research on volunteer management in Wellington.
''I went to see what was being set up with the ambassador programme, and it was such a great programme that I signed up to be one myself.''
She does most of her volunteering at the port, where cruise passengers first set foot in Wellington, giving directions to tourist attractions and offering advice on things to do.
Part of the challenge is making sure you have plenty of suggestions to fit Wellington's constantly changing weather patterns, she says.
''That's part of the charm of Wellington. Having an idea of what people can do on different kinds of days is important.
''Some are also in the city really early, around 7.30 in the morning, so you need to have an idea of great cafes for them to check out or things they can do until about 10am.''
Having volunteers makes a big difference for visiting tourists, who may know only about the cable car, Dr Smith says.
''Everyone I met who volunteered was really enthusiastic about Wellington. You want each city to have something to remember that makes it different, so having a person give you the inside knowledge can ensure that for Wellington.''
People with different interests, ages, and backgrounds can all work as volunteers, as long as they have a passion for the city, she says.
''You have to be positive about things and be able to put a smile on your face for three or four hours, even early in the morning.
''You have to be happy to give out little bits of advice or assistance again and again, and get out there with the aim of helping others. You've got to give them a reason to love Wellington."
WELLINGTON NEEDS YOU
Wellington city ambassadors will be trained, but should be reliable people with great knowledge of the city's streets and visitor attractions, and strong communication skills. Volunteers need to be able to cover at least 10 shifts throughout the six-month season, which starts in October. Almost all will be morning shifts, finishing around lunchtime. Volunteers are needed for weekdays and weekends, as well as public holidays.
For more information about cruise volunteering for the 2012-13 cruise season, email Selena.Murray@WellingtonNZ.com or call 04 915 7294 for more details.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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