Dublin is literally the City of a Thousand Welcomes after the success of a new Tourism initiative.
Over a thousand people have signed up to become goodwill ambassadors for the Irish capital in a new scheme.
The volunteers will introduce tourists to the magic of the city when the scheme is officially launched on Bloomsday, June 16th.
The ambassador effectively becomes a tour guide for the visitor and meets them for a pint of Guinness – or a cup of tea- at one of three appointed venues.
Tourists arriving at the airport, ferry ports and train stations will be offered a guide to sign up for the innovative scheme.
They will then meet their ambassador at the Merrion Hotel, Bewley’s Café and the Porterhouse pub for an information briefing on the city’s history, culture and attractions.
The unpaid volunteers are already 1,026 in number including well known Dublin faces like Victoria Smurfit, Bill Cullen, Graham Knuttel, Mario Rosenstock, Rosanna Davison and presidential candidate David Norris.
Innovator Trevor White has been amazed at the response of Dubliners to the plan.
“I have been blown away by the “warmth and response” of Dubliners so far,” said White.
“People from all walks of life and all ages have signed up.
“The aim of the scheme is to remind people that Dublin has an extraordinary reputation for hospitality and for welcoming people.
“This scheme compliments the work of Tourism Ireland so that visitors can come to the country in the confident expectation that they will meet friendly people.”
Those looking to volunteer sign up at the www.cityofathousandwelcomes.com website where they take a short multiple choice quiz about Dublin before their registration is complete.
“You don’t need to be an expert on James Joyce or anything like that but you do need to have a passion about the city and to be a proud Dubliner,” added White.
All ambassadors are subject to a Garda vetting process for security reasons.
Speaking at the launch, Dublin City Councillor Mannix Flynn said: “This is a fantastic initiative that gives Dubliners the chance to tell their story.
“Every tourist is a stranger but we’re going to reverse that. The initiative intends to make sure the visitor stays and gets a personalized history of the place. It is a sign the city is open for business.”