Wednesday, March 23, 2011

City of a Thousand Welcomes

You’re Welcome: 1. Deirdre Hynds & Mary Collins; 2. John Waters & Brendan O’Connor;
3. Patricia Potter & Cllr. Peter Coyle; 4. Una Bagnall & Shane Dineen. (Pix. iKeegan Photography)

Over 1,500 people have applied to become Dublin Ambassadors with City of a Thousand Welcomes, a new tourism initiative that was launched recently at a reception in Bewleys. The project aims to harness Dublin’s reputation for offering a warm welcome with a format that makes sharing a pint or a cuppa with a Dubliner a certainty, rather than a hope, for thousands of tourists.

“Over three million people visit Dublin each year,” says Trevor White, director of the project, “and the reason why many of them come here is to meet friendly locals. City of a Thousand Welcomes brings tourists and Dubliners together in a fun, structured, safe way, at no cost to either party.”

City of a Thousand Welcomes will be launched globally on 16 June. From that day forth, people from all over the world will be able to meet with the Dublin Ambassadors over a free drink or cup of tea in three great Dublin institutions: the Merrion Hotel, Bewley’s Café and the Porterhouse.

When the service starts operating, a tourist could end up enjoying a pint with someone who shares their profession or hobby – or even one of the well-known Dubliners who have already signed up, such as Victoria Smurfit, David McWilliams, Bill Cullen, Graham Knuttel, Mario Rosenstock, David McSavage, Rosanna Davison and even Presidential candidate Senator David Norris.

City of a Thousand Welcomes will be headquartered in the Little Museum of Dublin, a new people’s museum that will open on St Stephen’s Green this summer and sponsors include Fáilte Ireland, Dublin City Council and Dublin Regional Authority. I guess this makes Dublin the only city in the world where the locals literally queue up to welcome visitors.