Taxi drivers to double up as tourist ambassadors
Taxi drivers in Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, Louvain and Mechelen will soon boast a cultural ambassador’s diploma on completion of a mini training programme, an initiative launched by tourist minister Geert Bourgeois N-VA. Taxi drivers who have successfully completed their training will display an ‘Info on the go’ logo on their vehicle to inform visitors that they can expect more than a ride through the city. The training will include a theoretical and practical section, explains Kaat Peeters of the non-profit organization Kunststeden in Vlaanderen art cities in Flanders. “We will add customer-friendliness to our taxi drivers’ service offering. Especially in less obvious circumstances. This will be followed by tourist tips, making them able to explain that the Van Eyck brothers’ altarpiece Het Lam Gods in Ghent is under renovation or where in Antwerp Rubens’ paintings can be found. When yesterday’s first session started in Mechelen, many drivers admitted to never having visited the Sint-Rombouts Cathedral even though they have dropped off many a tourist there. “The initiative is particularly focused on foreign tourism,” explains Peeters. “It’s known all over that London cab drivers are friendly. Initial contact leaves a mark when visiting a city.” Of course the information provided by these ‘ambassadors’ is not supposed to take over the role of the traditional tourist guides.