Call for tourism volunteers to be face of Warrnambool

On the map: Warrnambool Visitor Information Centre volunteer Leo Ryan points out some of the city's highlights to mayor Robert Anderson. More people like Mr Ryan are needed to boost volunteer ranks. Picture: Rob Gunstone
On the map: Warrnambool Visitor Information Centre volunteer Leo Ryan points out some of the city's highlights to mayor Robert Anderson. More people like Mr Ryan are needed to boost volunteer ranks. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Warrnambool is on the hunt for friendly faces to help boost the city’s tourism.

As the peak summer season approaches, Warrnambool is hoping to grow volunteer numbers at its visitor information centre.

About 150,000 visitors come through the doors of the Flagstaff Hill centre each year, and Warrnambool mayor Robert Anderson said volunteers played an important role in making them feel welcome.

“They’re the front door for us,” he said.

“Our city hosts thousands of tourists over the summer months and the more we can help them enjoy their stay, the more likely they are to come back and encourage others to do the same.”

Flagstaff Hill service manager Paul Pinkerton said there was currently about 30 volunteers on the books and more were needed to cope with the impending summer influx.

“They will be trained up and we’ll support them,” he said.

There is hope the recruitment drive will help bolster volunteer numbers year round, and open up more opportunities for people to volunteer within Flagstaff Hill itself.

Leo Ryan has been volunteering at the visitor information centre for more than a decade and enjoys the social aspect of the role.

After retirement, Mr Ryan was looking to give back to the community.

“I enjoy interacting with people,” he said.

“You see a lot of different people, different nationalities. I used to be able to say hello in 30 different languages.”

Mr Ryan said he liked sharing his local knowledge with visitors.

“It’s good for the town. We rely largely on tourism in Warrnambool, it’s a big industry,” he said.

“A lot of people coming here have no idea where they are or what they want to do and it’s good to advise them and make their stay here as enjoyable as possible, then they will tell their friends what a wonderful place it is.

An information session on becoming a volunteer will be held on November 30 from 6pm-7pm at Flagstaff Hill.

For more information on volunteering, contact Esmae Gray on 5559 4612 or email egray@warrnambool.vic.gov.au