What is a Greeter?
A Greeter is a volunteer who welcome tourists in their city, and show them around for free as they would do with friends or family. It is a form of social tourism. Besides, during a walk through the city, the Greeter not only shows interesting or unknown places, he also talks about the daily life in the city and listens to what the guests ask and tell about their hometown. In fact, a dialogue between guest and Greeter is the idea of the Greeter initiative.
Greeters give you another, much more enjoyable way to experience their city. A local volunteer will meet you and take you to the best places base don their insider knowledge. They are very flexible in their approach and keen to share the best of their town in such a manner that you never lose sight of the fact that you are fellow human beings relating to each other. It is important to mention that Greeter’s services are available FREE OF CHARGE!, and there is a no tipping policy. However, it would be very grateful to help them continue providing this unique welcoming service, making a donation.
When does this initiative start?
The Greeter idea has been developed in New York in 1992 by Lynn Brooks. It starts to improve New York’s image at the time. She wanted the world to know her city as she knows.
Sharing New York through the Eyes of a New Yorker.
Friendly New Yorkers who care and help people from out of the town. This idea of presenting the own city to guests and tourist spreads out from New York Worldwide. The Greeter Network is growing rapidly. Up to now, more than 30 cities are offering Greeter services. In fact, Bilbao is a member of the Global Greeter Network, which is an informal association of Greeters around the world.
What are the fundamental principles of a Greeter?
- A Greeter should not have regard to race, color, creed, gender, age, sexual orientation, material status or disability, that is this concept is completely free and open to all people.
- You cannot expect historical dates from a Greeter, they are not professional tour guides, they are going to show you how real people live and love that city.
- Don’t expect a formulaic guided tour, this is a different experience that is much more personal. They can choose what they want to show you.
- The tour would take from 2-4 hours.
- Each Greeter would take for an insider walk no more than 6 persons. It is no matter of ruining the tourism business.
- It is a great and accentuate the cultural exchange, a good way to mix cultures.
What do you need to become a Greeter?
There is no need of a special degree or experience as a tour guide. A greeter only needs to be enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the city they live in and keen to share what they know about the area. He needs to feel comfortable speaking to small groups of people and 18 years old or over.
Moreover, although they get visitors who come from all over the world, Greeters doesn’t need to speak a foreign language. The enthusiasm and the willingness to communicate are more important!
“Get to know the city through the eyes of someone who lives there”.
“More like a friend than a professional guide”
“Get the essence of each city”
- Global Greeter Network. Retrieved December 8,2012. Available at: http://www.globalgreeternetwork.info
- Berlin Greeter. Retrieved December 8,2012. Availalable at: http://www.berlin-greeter.org/en/about-us