Destination Phillip Island chair John Pandazopoulos (right) congratulated Mayor Cr Brett Tessari on receiving his ambassador pin. Mm1441198

A NEW tourism ambassador program will teach Phillip Island workers and residents about the history and varying attractions of the local area in the hopes of providing a better experience for visitors.
It’s important, according to tourism experts, because 91 per cent of customers will not return if they have a negative experience.
And if all goes well with the ‘My Phillip Island Tourism Ambassador Program’, a similar program will be rolled out in other parts of the state.
Of course, the wider Bass Coast region will get one too – by mid-2020 at the latest.
The program was officially launched at the Phillip Island Winery last Thursday afternoon by Destination Phillip Island chair John Pandazopoulos.
He was joined by councillors, shire officers, local marketing and sales workers, and others from the local tourism industry.
Mr Pandazopoulos said a huge amount of work had gone into the program, which was part of the Phillip Island and San Remo Visitor Economy Strategy 2035.
It’s the only 20-year visitor economy strategy in Australia, he added.
“That shows the commitment that council and the industry has to work with community for the future vision about the direction we want to guide tourism… you have to guide it to the place where you want to take it.
“We want to be able to have the benefits of tourism, but also the things that the tourists love about this place happen to coincide with the same thing the locals love about this place; and that’s the nature focus, liveability, accessibility, local produce, greenery and all the animals.”
He said social media creates a positive opportunity to amplify people’s intentions to promote and show off the things they enjoy.
“The customers are coming to spend their money. Most of the time we get it right, some of the time we won’t and when we don’t, how do we deal with it?
“And when we are getting it right, how can we do it better?”
He said there’s an economic benefit to the ambassador program because personalising a tourist’s experience will mean they’re more likely to spend.
That could be as simple as talking to visitors about their plans and recommending places to go.
The program was funded by the State Government, Bass Coast Shire Council and Destination Phillip Island.