Sandton Central district in partnership with Joburg Tourism launched a tourism kiosk in November outside the Gautrain Station. The kiosk is staffed by tourism ambassadors appointed by the city as part of a programme to upskill unemployed youth and create jobs in tourism. To lend our support to this initiative, earlier this month we volunteered our time to give a basic training session to this team to share our knowledge of Sandton and our new Sandon In Your Pocket mini-guide.
The City of Johannesburg’s Tourism Ambassador Programme is a city-wide initiative currently employing 60 young people – 12 ambassadors have been stationed around Sandton Central to welcome, guide and advise tourists. The kiosk outside Sandton Gautrain Station is a key location for visitors and tourists to access all the information they need about navigating around Sandton. It’s where you will also find copies of our Sandton In Your Pocket mini-guide.
At the training workshop we hosted in Sandton we shared fundamental knowledge of the area and tips to navigate Sandton Central. The training touched on basic guiding skills, how to advise tourists about transport options, information about access to the city’s cultural highlights and lifestyle jewels, and how to work with maps provided in our Sandton In Your Pocket Mini-guide.
Sandton is Africa’s shopping capital with Sandton City and Nelson Mandela Square its crown jewels. The area is also home to the largest number of international hotels in Joburg, as well as myriad restaurants and nightlife haunts, a number of art galleries, parks, historic sites such as Liliesleaf and attractions such as the Bryanston Market – essential stops that are key in making the visit worthwhile. Being directly on the Gautrain route the area is also a short trip away from Rosebank’s Art gallery district and lifestyle attractions and the city’s many historic, heritage and contemporary cultural attractions.
In our daily work with hotels we are constantly aware of the barriers, historical, real and imagined that keep Joburgers from accessing their city easily. From perceptions about safety, and long commutes to work creating a lack of ease and familiarity in neighbourhoods, to the fact that that many of Joburg’s attractions are hidden from view to the economic disparities that separate many people in the hospitality and tourism area from the visitors they encounter. It’s our aim to change this – with trusted information, neighbourhood walks to build hotel concierge skills, educational trips and experiences for hotel staff, and training.
The ambassadors were taken through a number of exercises and group activities to equip them with how to access all these essential places for tourists, how to bring their best to their working day and even how to smile at visitors. This ambassador workshop forms part of an ongoing initiative of In Your Pocket City Guides to share knowledge that will enrich visitor experience of Joburg.
The workshop held at Sandton Central Management District offices at Sandton City was also attended by a key official from Joburg Tourism, the district Operations Manager of Sandton Central and some security personnel.
As a small business working on tourism in Joburg we feel we have a responsibility to add where we can and contribute to a bigger picture of what a visitor’s welcome should be. If we are to welcome people to our neighbourhoods, we also have to make locals feel welcome.
If you would like to contact us about following up on any of the above-mentioned initiatives email Melusi.email@example.com.