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Petrol attendants receive training on tourism

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By Teetee Zwane - THE SWAZI OBSERVER-02-Sep-2009

SINCE the first stop visitors to any country usually make is at a filling station, the Swaziland Tourism Authority (STA) saw it fit to educate petrol attendants on the local tourism industry.

The seminar, which was held yesterday at the Mavuso Exhibition and Trade Centre as part of the activities prepared for the 2009 Swaziland International Trade Fair (SITF), focused on customer care and how filling station personnel should provide tourism related information to tourists.

“As you know, we’re currently engaged in the ‘Visit Swaziland’ campaign and we realised that it is important that when you invite people to visit your country, you also make the necessary preparations internally,” said STA Marketing Manager Bongani Dlamini.

He said the STA realised that filling stations were a neutral base that always attract people, especially tourists, who would either go there to fill up their vehicles, rest up after a long journey or even seek information.

“When people are lost, the people they usually trust are filling station attendants. They are the mirrors of our country and the first point of contact between tourists and the people of Swaziland,” he said. “We saw that there was a need to educate filling station personnel on how to handle visitors as well as on local tourist destinations, including accommodation, places to dine and be entertained.”

He said if these attendants treated their customers very well, they would therefore, prefer to fill up within the country’s borders than to go across the South African borders. Also, Dlamini noted that satisfied customers would relate to others their experience and encourage more people to visit the country.

“We also found out that they are often asked about tourist destinations in the country and most of the time, they have no answers. So, we realised the need to inform them about these and other relevant information,” said the marketing manager. Adding, Dlamini said as part of the ‘Visit Swaziland’ campaign, the STA would also be training other stakeholders in the tourism industry. He said these would include public transport operators as these were also points of contact for tourists.

He said some tourists use public transport to get to destinations of choice and therefore, it was important that operators were educated on such as well as on customer care so they know how to handle visitors if they come across them. “They should know destinations of choice and how to get there,” said Dlamini, adding “the question of access is high on the tourism agenda.”

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