Home   News   Article

Day in the life: Welcoming tourists to Inverness

By Emily Garrow

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
Emily Garrow spent the day as an Inverness BID coach ambassador.
Emily Garrow spent the day as an Inverness BID coach ambassador.

Inverness is in the midst of tourist season, with coaches arriving from cruise ships to come and take a look around the city.

I was interested to know more about the work that Inverness BID (Business Improvement District) do, as they are the first people that eager visitors meet when they arrive.

Making my way to Ardross Street, I was greeted by Inverness BID coach ambassador’s Janice Worthing and Garry Munro, who were up bright and early as they always are, seven days a week, to meet the morning coaches.

They gave me a signature BID red jacket, and a high-vis coat so I was certainly feeling the part to join them in their roles.

We had a little bit of time before the first coach arrived, so they filled me in on what their job entails.

Janice said: “The place can become really busy with coaches, so we do a lot of traffic management and make sure that all the drivers are in the right spaces to start with.

“Then if tourists want somewhere to go, whether that be for whisky or tartan or food, we’ll mark it down on the map for them.”

The first coaches arrived at 9.40am and very quickly the street was filled with a flood of people, who were keen to get out exploring. Janice and Garry’s job involves giving a friendly welcome to the arrivals, and handing out colourful maps of the city, with landmarks pointed out.

I decided to try my hand at giving out maps of the city centre to visitors from Germany. I was quickly told how to say "morgen", "stadtplan" and “Tschüss”.

“Knowing even one word of their language makes all the difference,” said Garry.

Fortunately, the visitors didn’t seem to mind my questionable pronunciation and they were eager to know about the city centre, shops and Inverness Castle.

One of the things that the BID Ambassador’s need to do is help tourists who miss their coaches on the way back, which happens quite often.

Janice commented: “We always manage to arrange a way for them to get back to their cruise ship, whether that be on another coach or through public transport.

“The coach providers are really good, and they all work together with us to make sure that people make it back safely.”

Garry added: “One of the reasons people miss their bus is that they have their watch set at the wrong time, and by the time they come to Ardross Street they are an hour late!

“Or they think they’ve been told to come back in two hours, and it may have been 2pm. We’ve always managed to get them back though.

“We also have times where the bus hasn’t shown up on time, so we have a lot of people waiting on the street. That’s our job to entertain them then.”

Janice said: “Garry sang them an Elvis song last week and told them some jokes – they were loving it.”

From left: Janice Worthing, Elizabeth MacKay (HOSTGA tour guide) and Garry Munro.
From left: Janice Worthing, Elizabeth MacKay (HOSTGA tour guide) and Garry Munro.

With dozens of coaches arriving throughout the day, it can be a busy place to be.

One of the highlights of being a BID coach ambassador is the opportunity to learn new things about Inverness itself.

“While doing this job, I’ve learned so much that I didn’t know about the place. The tour guides are really lovely, and we also get to find out new bits of information,” said Garry.

“Some people keep coming back year after year because they love Inverness.”

When talking about her favourite part of the job, Janice said: “I love seeing why they've come to Inverness and hearing what they've enjoyed about it. They meet pen pals and family members”.

In my few hours in the role, I could see being an ambassador was valued by those working in that position. It really is a feel-good job, and being able to welcome people into the city means that they are getting a proper Highland welcome.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More