City council leader takes on Norwich tourists
Mary HamiltonCity council leader Steve Morphew put himself in the shoes of Norwich's front-line ambassadors whose job it is to welcome visitors to the city.Support Norwich on FacebookSupport Norwich on FacebookOfficial Norwich 2013 bid websiteMary Hamilton
City council leader Steve Morphew put himself in the shoes of Norwich's front-line ambassadors whose job it is to welcome visitors to the city.
Mr Morphew served for two hours at Norwich Tourist Information Centre yesterday, testing his local knowledge by fielding queries from complete newcomers and long-time locals alike.
He went back to the shop floor in a bid to raise the profile of the work done by the centre staff who he described as the 'front-line ambassadors' for the city - and whose enthusiasm is vital to help Norwich win the bid to be UK City of Culture in 2013.
'I think watching the enthusiasm of the staff and their knowledge has been the most rewarding part of the day,' he said. 'It's wonderful to see how they interact with people as they come in, and the way they encourage them to explore Norwich.
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'This is the gateway through which people come to Norwich and it's absolutely clear the work the centre staff do is vital to making sure they get a good first impression.'
He said the hardest things he had had to cope with were technical issues such as printing tickets - but that the easiest had been the first question of the day from a visitor looking for the Norwich Conservative club.
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Tourist Centre manager Michelle Hurren said: 'He has done very well with quite a wide variety of questions and visitors, from Center Parcs tickets to rail tickets to events to giving directions. He's had all sorts.
'He's excellent on his local knowledge, giving advice on what to see and do in the city, and he has come across as very enthusiastic.
'This job is all about being prepared to listen to what the customer wants, and being ready to offer help and ways of finding out things that perhaps you don't already know.
'It is most definitely about being an ambassador for Norwich. We are often the first people visitors see - often after they have had a hard journey - and it's up to us to make sure the rest of their time in the city is good.
'The City of Culture bid is fantastic for Norwich. It's putting Norwich in people's minds and imaginations.
'We're backing the bid here. We are going to a national exhibition and we will be taking 'I love Norwich' bags and hats and making sure people know we have been shortlisted.
'I definitely think we will see more people here - particularly if we do win. This is going to encourage people to come, not just during 2013 but before and after as well.
'People will come here because they have heard the name and because of our profile, not just because of the title.'
How to Back the Bid
The people behind Norwich's bid to be City of Culture in 2013 say it's vital for everyone in the city to get involved - whether it's by showing your support online, volunteering your time or talents, bringing attention to groups you already work with, or simply by spreading the word about our fine city and all it has to offer.
Here are some ways to get started:
Send your ideas or volunteer to contribute by emailing email@example.com.
Tell us about events, projects or groups you're involved with by calling 01603 772418 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tell us why you're backing the bid by emailing email@example.com or calling 01603 772418.
Show your support and let us know about events happening where you are by joining the Norwich 2013 Facebook group at www.tinyurl.com/Norwich-2013.
Follow the Evening News Back the Bid campaign on Twitter at www.twitter.com/norwichculture.
Read more about the City of Culture bid at www.en24.co.uk/culture.