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A warm and welcoming army of volunteers has cemented Brisbane’s reputation as one of the world’s most inviting, friendly, and inclusive cities.

From guided walking tours of The City to greeting international guests at major events and cruise ship arrivals, Brisbane Economic Development Agency (BEDA) has paid tribute this National Volunteer Week (20-26 May 2024) to the thousands of tourism volunteers who go the extra mile to deliver an exceptional experience for Brisbane visitors.

With their passion for Brisbane on full display, volunteers are the lifeblood of the city; donating their time to staff the Brisbane Visitor Information Centre, share their local knowledge through the Brisbane Greeters program, welcome international arrivals and lend a hand when and where it’s most needed.

Major events and international conferences are increasingly tapping into Brisbane’s stellar volunteer community including World Science Festival Brisbane 2024 where 173 volunteers logged 1,841 hours over 491 shifts.

This month’s Torian Pro relies on more than 250 volunteers to deliver the three-day competition and June’s Eva Air Brisbane Marathon Festival will mobilise 450 volunteers – many starting before dawn – to ensure a seamless race day for runners.

To support our volunteers, in 2023 BEDA successful launched the Brisbane Welcomes You pilot program initiative, equipping 1,300 industry and volunteer participants to deliver world-class experiences to Brisbane visitors.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner offered his thanks to Brisbane’s passionate volunteers.

“Brisbane volunteers are part of the fabric of this great city, and I extend my sincere gratitude for the roles they serve as passionate and proud ambassadors for our city,” Cr Schrinner said.

“Our wonderful volunteers support our city in so many ways, ensuring Brisbane remains a must-do destination and one of the most welcoming cities in the world.

“Brisbane’s tourism volunteers are among our city’s greatest assets, and we are thankful for their generosity and dedication now, as we prepare to welcome the world for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Brisbane Visitor Information Centre Manager Marinella Ghion said many volunteers on her team had regularly donated their time over decades.

“Our volunteers turn up for their shifts with big smiles on their faces, week after week, out of a great sense of civic pride and community spirit,” Ms Ghion said.

“They have a well-earned reputation for sharing local knowledge, booking the best tours and services and helping visitors plan where to eat, stay, play and shop in Brisbane.

“As volunteers and greeters for over 20, 30 and even 40 years, they have witnessed Brisbane grow and come of age and are proud to share this city’s rich history and optimistic future with visitors.”

Pauline Edwards is one such long-serving volunteer, donating her time and talents to the Brisbane Visitor Information Centre since 1991 including volunteering at the opening of South Bank in 1992.

From sharing a busy booth with the Police Beat and Translink in Queen Street Mall to working at a satellite stand at Brisbane International Airport and now working every Wednesday at the Centre’s permanent CBD base in the heritage-listed Regent Theatre, Pauline says the social aspect of volunteering continues to fuel her enthusiasm.

“I have made lifelong friends through volunteering, which was one of the most important parts,” she said.

“I love meeting the travellers, especially from overseas or interstate and hearing about their travels and what they want to do in Brisbane then giving them tips or suggesting activities or experiences.

“My husband, Phil, and I have been fortunate to do a lot of travelling and I usually try to find a tourism information office in each new location I visit.

“People have always been very helpful to us, so I want to offer that same service here in Brisbane.”

As for the local advice she gives visitors: “Explore the Brisbane River. The ferries and CityCats are such a great way to see everything, and Howard Smith Wharves is good fun for watching the passing water traffic.”

Find more information, visit the Brisbane Visitor Information Centre located at 167 Queen Street, Brisbane.

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