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Council launches bid for Games greeters'

PUBLISHED: 11:42 06 August 2009 | UPDATED: 17:00 25 August 2010

A BID is underway to fund New York-style greeters for the world s biggest sporting event. Greenwich council submitted a bid for £70,000 to the London Development Agency to host a volunteer greeters project for the 2012 Olympic Games. The project is base

A BID is underway to fund New York-style greeters for the world's biggest sporting event.

Greenwich council submitted a bid for £70,000 to the London Development Agency to host a volunteer greeters project for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The project is based on a programme founded in New York in 2007 by tourism chiefs mindful that the city had a reputation as a daunting and sometimes dangerous place to be.

Its aims were to put tourists in touch with everyday New Yorkers who knew the neighbourhoods, where to take visitors and the trouble spots to stay clear of.

If agreed by the LDA, Greenwich council would implement and manage the project across the five 2012 host boroughs, recruiting the first batch of volunteers this September. Greenwich is the only one of the five boroughs with a dedicated tourism team. The LDA cash would pay for a part-time co-ordinator, project administration and a dedicated website so that Olympics visitors can book a greeter online.

John Fahy, Greenwich council's cabinet member for culture and the Olympics, said: "This initiative would be a wonderful addition to the information available to tourists and visitors.

"The scheme would come into its own when we are hosting Olympic events here and have even more people visiting and staying in our borough, many of whom may not know their way around.

"It means residents can get directly involved with imparting their excellent local knowledge, which will be a great help to our visitors in helping them to get around and to get the best out of the many wonderful attractions we have on offer here in Greenwich.

"For Greenwich to be asked to take the lead in setting up the scheme on behalf of the Olympic host boroughs reflects our depth of experience as a host to millions of visitors each year."

The greeters would form part of the existing tourism tier, including tourist information staff, tour guides and Blue Badge guides, delivering the 'Greenwich Welcome' in the run up to the Games. A dedicated website would give neighbourhood profiles which visitors can select, then book a greeter for a party of up to six people then travel on foot or by public transport.

In 2007 more than 300 volunteer greeters welcomed over 7,000 people to New York's five boroughs.

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