1. Signage, signage, signage!
People, it’s not that hard, really, to spend a little bit of time, effort and money into really developing your signage. And how about, once you’ve put it up, try it out. Get someone to give it a trial run to see if it really works – there’s nothing more annoying than following signage that just fucking ends no where near where you’re ending up.
2. Tourist information booths.
I know they might seem a bit daggy, but honestly, theyr’e fucking vital and they could be really simple. Just make sure they are in key places like Airports, Central train stations and a couple of the main areas in the centre of town. You could even be a bit innovative and have collapsible ones that you could take to specific areas when there’s a big event on (like the Grand Prix, or a Film Festival). They need to give out maps, be staffed by people who at least speak the local language and one other (probably English) and are open at least as long as the plance they’re in (if not 24hours!). In fact, they could just be like John So’s info people that stand on the corner of Flinders and Swanston Sts in Melbourne, giving out info and maps to tourists, so you get to really connect with your tourists, AND you’re employing older people and ex-homeless in the mean time (Rob – do you have any connections with cities looking to refine their tourist industries? Mayor of London perhaps?).
3. Access to Money
Although most of us tourists have money with us when we arrive, sometimes things don’t work out that way and we need to get some, or we need to change it. Make sure that there’s both a Cambio/Wechsel/Change booth in the main Airport and Train Station (and boat terminal, if applicable) AND and ATM. How about one next to the other! That would be kind of sensible – put all the money type places together!
4. Access to transport and tickets
Firstly, read step 1 again.
Go on, read it…. read it!
Now, make sure it’s easy for both your locals AND tourists (or are time-consuming and bumbling fools, we can’t help it) to access transport system/tickets. Make sure there’s working machines and an open person to talk to, in case something goes awry, as late as the system runs (tourists arrive at all times of the day, usually way after your peak hour commuter has gone home). And always have a daily ticket available – it’s just common sense to be able to jump on an off transport and you’re making your way around town. If you don’t want to make it cheap, fine, be like that, but at least have one.
Extra loving touches
Late night food.
In my experience, Germany (and Austria to some extent) had their priorities well sorted. You can get food and beer at all times of the day at the major stations and airports (including supermarkets!). When tourists have just come off a long haul, or are about to jump on a train across 15 borders, most will want to grab food of some sorts. Be nice and give them a range from cheap, nasty, exlusive’ and healthy (a little from each is always nice).
Easy and affordable baggage storage.
There is nothing more of a drag than having to check out of your hotel/hostel./hovel at between 9 and 12, not leaving until 6 hours later and having no where to store your luggage. Having lockers is a really easy way to go about it, or if you want to really make things complicated, you can have a whole office connected to it (including Lost and Found – that always helps). It means that your tourists can continue to enjoy your beautiful cites, without having to get major back strain, or fuck off your citizens by running them over with those annoying suitcasewheelie things.
All of the above will certainly go some way to a happy tourist and we all know what happy tourists means: they spend more money and tell more people how great you are, which probably gets you either a myspace page/facebook group or re-elected, whatever takes your fancy.