Call me a tourism champion
VISITORS taking cabs on the Sunshine Coast will soon be greeted by drivers wearing two hats – their regular one and one that marks them as qualified tourism ambassadors.
In what is being billed as a Queensland first, 16 drivers from Suncoast Cabs yesterday began a 14-week tourism pilot course that the company hopes will eventually extend to most of its roughly 400 drivers.
Sunshine Coast TAFE has supplied the modules for the State Government-funded voluntary course, but it is being delivered in-house at Suncoast Cabs’ Marcoola headquarters by the company’s own training team.
Tourism Noosa chief executive Steve Cooper described the initiative as a “fantastic” first because drivers were on the “frontline of the tourism experience”.
The launch of the program follows lengthy discussions between Suncoast Cabs, Tourism Queensland and Sunshine Coast TAFE.
Along with aiding the region’s tourism industry, it is hoped the move will result in a greater driver retention rate.
The course’s core units include developing and updating tourism industry knowledge, providing visitor information and dealing with conflict situations.
Suncoast Cabs general manager John Lobwein, the brainchild behind the scheme, said the company had a responsibility to conduct the course.
“The idea is to have guys better equipped to aid the tourism industry,” he said. “It’s the primary industry on the Coast and we and our drivers are aware of their responsibilities.
“The whole thing is about giving drivers more self-esteem, giving them more of a career path, making them feel like they’re part of the business,” Mr Lobwein said.
Glenn Brewster, a Suncoast Cabs training and assessment officer and former driver, described the launch of the exercise as “extremely promising”.
Driver Geoff Robson said the course would give him and other drivers a better insight into the region’s tourism industry.
“(It will) also improve relations with customers we have,” he said.