October 30th, 2019
Tens of thousands of people visit Hahndorf each year making it one of South Australia's most popular tourism spots.

The way the village has been enjoyed has changed and so too, the visitors.

Mount Barker District Council and the Adelaide Hills Visitor Information Centre undertook some research in early 2018 about what, and how visitors we're doing in the town and how they went about exploring this part of the world.

Tourism Development Manager Andy Glen said some of the results from the study were very surprising.

During the study, 252 people were interviewed on the street – over half were from interstate and three-quarters were from outside the region.

“We weren't overly surprised that most of the visitors were not from the region or interstate,” Andy said.

“However, we were surprised to learn that over 60 per cent did not intend to use the visitor centre.

“From there we decided that we had to begin making changes to how we engage people.”

Part of the questioning during the interviews was asking what people would like to see and how they were informed when they arrived in Hahndorf.

Sixty-four per cent of people wanted to speak to a local and have a printed village guide and map.

Towards the end of 2018 the visitor centre began to implement a new street ambassadorial program.

The street ambassadors have been utilised so far to greet bus-loads of people who are on a stop from a cruise ship.

The visitor centre is staffed mostly by volunteers, 25 in total with half a dozen of those who are able to perform the ambassador role.

“The aim is to maximise people’s visits,” Andy said.

“So far we've found that people are liking the street ambassadors as it saves them time and energy looking around for things to do.”

Andy said they are now looking at expanding the program and looking to get more volunteers on board.

“We'd like to get people who are passionate about Hahndorf, warm and friendly, and have an outgoing personality,” he said.

The ambassadors are starting to talk to traders in the area to learn more about each individual business and get a better idea of everything available in the area.

“We want to work with our local businesses to gain a good working relationship and push their products more,” Andy said.

Volunteer Michelle Williams has been with the visitors centre for three years and love what the street ambassadors bring to the town.

“International visitors absolutely love it when approached as it makes them feel special and it's a good promotion for Hahndorf and The Adelaide Hills,” Michelle said.

“The face to face connection gives a more intimate feeling and experience.”

She has lived in Hahndorf for almost a decade since moving from Kangaroo Island and said that people can often miss things if not informed.

“The significance of the living history of the town often gets missed,” she said.

“People appreciate the time we take to share that local knowledge.”

Michelle said that as happy as she and the other ambassadors make visitors happy she receives a great deal of gratification out of doing it.

On a personal level, I just love doing it and I love that people love that I do it,” Michelle said.

If your passionate about Hahndorf and the Adelaide Hills and want to volunteer to be a street ambassador give Andy on Lisa a call on 83937600.

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