A Hillsborough bed and breakfast owner recently became the 20,000th person in Northern Ireland to become WorldHost-certified.
Lyn Barton from The Coach House B&B completed the leading customer service training programme at St Malachy’s Parish Church.
“I am delighted to be the 20,000th person to complete this course,” Lyn said. “I have learnt a lot and will certainly put it to good use when welcoming visitors to my home and Hillsborough village.”
The People 1st WorldHost training in Hillsborough, organised by Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, is part of a wider project to prepare local businesses in the run-up to the upcoming £20m investment in Hillsborough Castle which aims to attract 200,000 visitors to the area annually by 2020.
Hillsborough is also aiming to achieve WorldHost Recognised Destination status, which is awarded when 25 per cent or more of businesses in an area have trained at least half their staff through WorldHost programmes.
Through WorldHost training, People 1st aims to help businesses in the visitor economy sector achieve customer excellence and gain a competitive edge, and ultimately help Northern Ireland achieve its ambition to grow tourism to a £1bn industry by 2025. Tourism NI has also teamed up with People 1st to help promote the campaign.
Roisin McKee, director of Northern Ireland at People 1st, commented: “Providing memorable visitor experiences is going to be absolutely critical to helping Northern Ireland achieve its tourism growth ambitions and providing a welcome boost to the local economy.
“We’ve seen fantastic results from businesses that have completed WorldHost training to date, from improved sales to increased staff satisfaction. We’re delighted to have reached the milestone of 20,000 people trained, and look forward to continuing the campaign.”
Terence Brannigan, Chairman of Tourism NI, added: “I congratulate the team at People 1st, in partnership with our own team at Tourism NI, on delivering WorldHost training to over 20,000 people across Northern Ireland. I also wish to commend the industry’s commitment to undertaking this training in support of the continuing delivery of outstanding experiences for all our visitors.
“It is encouraging to witness the levels of investment in tourism in Hillsborough and the surrounding area, which will serve to strengthen our overall visitor offering, whilst benefitting local businesses and local people.“
Alderman Allan Ewart MBE, Chairman of the council’s Development Committee said: “Huge congratulations to Mrs Barton on being the 20,000th person to complete the WorldHost Ambassador training course and we wish her every success in the coming years.
“Local businesses are taking full advantage of this customer service training to the extent that all six sessions are fully booked and an extra one has been arranged for 20th March. Quality customer service is key to the success of any business and this course will prepare frontline staff to deliver the highest levels of customer service to all visitors.”
Any other businesses interested in taking part in WorldHost training can find out more at www.people1st.co.uk/worldhost