TAMPA — Polite or gruff, informed or oblivious, a taxi driver can make a big difference in a visitor’s first impression of a city.
Recognizing the value of this interaction, and its larger impact on tourism, Tampa Bay & Company will jump start its new guest services training program with training for drivers of vehicles for-hire, such as taxis, limousines and vans.
"I think it’s a good idea and it’s long overdue,” said Brook Negusei, president of Cab Plus Inc. in Tampa. “The first thing you see, coming into Tampa, is the cab driver, and when you leave, you see a cab driver.”
The initial training is slated for mid-August, in time for the Republican National Convention and the 50,000 visitors it will bring. Further ahead, the program will expand to include other types of tourism industry employees.
The program will provide an “enhancement of the total guest experience that the delegates, media and other attendees will witness first hand,” as opposed to being a traditional economic development tool, said Kelly Miller, president and CEO of Tampa Bay & Company.