The Volunteer Youth Ambassador (VYA) programme offers on-site guide services for tourists. It provides assistance where ever required, reflecting the care that usually people provide to people from the foreign land. Since our clients are mostly tourists, business houses and general public, who may request our volunteer services, required during cruise ship visits, public events, community awareness programmes etc. The Volunteer Youth Ambassadors offers volunteer services for free all in a day upon request.
The VYA marketing strategy is to emphasise the quality volunteer service we provide and the availability of our services. Tourists or the general public who come across our volunteers, for instance, will feel satisfied that they have been assisted or looked after.
The VYA services are provided by young men and women trained in tourism. The management of the volunteers comes under PNG Ports Corporation Limited. In addition, the Corporate Communications Division provides management expertise. The business is now registered via IPA under the name PNGPCL Volunteers.
The idea behind VYA
The Volunteer Youth Ambassador Programme (VYAP) is an initiative of the former CEO of PNG Ports Corporation Limited, Mr. Brian Riches. He has linked his wealth of experience in the hospitality industry to benefit tourism. The programme was started in March 2010 in response to the need for tourism at the PNGPCL port in Port Moresby. The Volunteer Youth Ambassador Programme is a service and PNGPCL will provide all the necessities to ensure that the best hospitality is accorded to the tourists who visit our ports.
The idea is to ensure that the volunteers are available to assist the tourists who enter the ports operated by PNGPCL and have easy access to services such as banking, postal services and internet kiosks. Apart from these, the concept is expanded to include visits to tourist attractions such as the parliament house, botanical gardens, art exhibitions and cultural displays among others.
Another important contribution made by the Volunteers Youth Ambassadors is to the Seafarers Centre operated by PNGPCL. The Seafarers Centre is a place for information, communication and relaxation for seafarers who travel to PNGPCL Ports from other parts of the world. It is also a place where the travellers can find spiritual counsel and guidance from various clergy who will be available. The Volunteer Youth Ambassadors will be situated at the Seafarers Centre to assist seamen who come ashore to communicate with their families and friends and also to find information about the port of call and the people of this country.
Spirit of Volunteerism
Voluntary work is not easy to achieve. However willing participants can do this from the heart in support of their country and culture. The time and determination shown by our volunteers here at the quay side during cruise vessel visit, charity work or general public shows is outstanding. The office of Corporate Communications through the Events Office keeps these enthusiastic volunteers updated on future cruise ship visits, charity work or other special events requiring their time.
The participation of PNGPCL volunteers in the community is a new concept received by all business houses and organisations. The year 2010 saw the volunteers take part in various events like the Orchid Show, the White Ribbon Day preparation and the Sausage Sizzle. The year 2011 saw the plan to use the volunteers in the Cheshire Homes Sausage Sizzle which was repeated again in January 2012. A plan to use their services on a bi-monthly basis has worked well which includes 8 volunteers on a Saturday at the Boroko Food World. Each day starts with preparation of the area, set up of the BBQ stand and preparation of the food. The volunteers take turn to do the BBQ whilst the others assist to remind public to donate in the Cheshire Homes piggy bank.
Cruise Vessel Guides
The VYA's involvement is important upon confirmation of arrival of cruise ship or overseas naval ships into Port Moresby. We saw the visit of MS Europa (03.02.2011) and MV Albatross (14.03.2011) which was operationally successful. Stakeholders involved were Niugini Tours, Tourism Promotion Authority, Post PNG, PNG Ports and the PNGPCL volunteers.
From observations, twenty percent (20%) of the tourists do not make formal arrangements for tours around Port Moresby or to other parts of PNG. Other tourists who make arrangements for tours have the afternoon off to stroll around the main town area and they are the ones our volunteers assist to escort and provide guidance, information where possible.
Since our volunteers number to more than four hundred, a handful (50 – 60 person) of our dedicated volunteers volunteer their time to make the Programme successful towards this cruise ship visits.
With the volunteers available on the day, they are divided to about six (6) groups in which one group consisting of at least 5 – 6 volunteers are located at the front quay to welcome the tourists. The volunteers at the front quay do several duties apart from escorting and these include distribution of brochures, giving a friendly smile, assisting the tour operators direct the tourists to the right tour bus etc.
The other groups of volunteers at the entrance are standby to receive the tourists who are escorted by the volunteers from the front quay. The volunteers by the front entrance then take over and proceed to the main town area or provide assistance in calling the Taxi Cab Operators such as Ark, Red Dot, Scarlet taxi services etc.
The tour agent on ground Niugini tours arrange excursions to areas outside of Port Moresby such as Sogeri, GabaGaba Village, Botanical Gardens and Bomana War Cemetery. However several tourists who have visited this country have often approached the volunteers insisted and that they take them to these places as well which placed our volunteers in an awkward situation. The volunteers did the best they could to see how they could best assist in these times and the tourists were grateful.
The language barrier was another area that our volunteers struggled with however got through by the end of the day. Most of the tourists who were assisted by our volunteers gave tips as appreciation. Most tourists also get a bargain for prices with volunteers and make sure they get what they wanted at a discounted price.
All volunteers and PNGPCL officers were provided with drinks throughout the day and lunch provided along with a chocolate bar. The volunteers were provided with K5 credits to assist them in assisting tourists if ever they required taxi service.
At the end of the day we hold a short meeting, make a roll call and thank all the volunteers on behalf of PNGPCL before arranging for the volunteers transportation back to their respective homes with the assistance of Niugini Tours at a discounted fare.