If you want to know anything about Brisbane, Blair Allsopp is your man.
Brisbane Greeter Blair Allsopp can show you how a Go Card works while reciting an endless stream of facts about Brisbane.
For example, do you know the only habitable bridge in the Southern Hemisphere resides in Brisbane?
Or that one of the world’s first computers was built in the same building that now houses Brisbane’s Apple Store?
And that at one point in World War Two there were more Americans in Brisbane than Australians?
Blair does — and he is one of over 200 Brisbane Greeters volunteering their time to welcome visitors to town.
“The idea is we become your friends or family for a couple of hours to help you become acquainted with Brisbane,” the Chapel Hill local said.
Negotiating a new city can be a daunting task so visitors are given a gentle greeting before exploring the city at their leisure.
“It is the kind of thing you would share with a friend or family coming to the city,” he said.
Well into its second year, Brisbane Greeters is a free public service open to all wanting to know Brisbane a little better.
“Volunteered” by his wife, Blair says the program caters for international guest but is also great for locals interested in rediscovering Brisbane.
“Many participants are locals and people from interstate who want to get reacquainted with the city,” he said.
The Canadian expatriate says the ambassador service caters for a range of different interests.
“I have had foodies from Malaysia, journalists from Paris and photographers from New York,” he says.
“We have done food-specific, shopping, history or architectural tours and we also do neighbourhood tours as well.”
The 60-year-old says the tour limit of four people leads to a more engaging experience.
“It is a much more intimate experience, with four people someone is always going to be interested or asking a question,” he says
“It’s like family and friends hanging out for a couple of hours.”
Brisbane Greeters have greeted over 20,000 visitors since their inception, and Blair says they have plans to grow exponentially in the future.
“We had roughly 4,000 in the first year, 6,000 in the second, and 10,000 this year,” he says.
Greeting is also a rewarding experience for the volunteers.
“I can’t walk for more than 20 metres through the city without stopping and telling a story,” Blair laughs.
“It’s like being on holidays in your own city.”
At least three days’ booking notice is required for a Brisbane Greeters tour, departing at 10am daily from King George Square.
For more information call 3156 6364 or visit www.visitbrisbane.com.au/Brisbane-Greeters.
Blair Allsopp and the Brisbane Greeters are proud members of Team Brisbane. For more information on the Team Brisbane initiative, visit teambne.com.au. To join the Team Brisbane conversation, use the hashtags #TeamBNE and #BrisbaneAnyDay.