SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco's welcome ambassadors have been on the city streets for a year now, and Mayor London Breed says they're making the streets safer and more welcoming. For those coming to visit they will be welcomed by ambassadors who are there to lend a helping hand and keep an eye out for safety.
San Francisco's streets are bustling with activity, and visitors can look for a friendly face in the form of the city's welcome ambassadors. Mayor Breed was on hand to highlight the one-year anniversary of the program, saying the program has played a pivotal role in the city's post COVID recovery.
"There were some conventions that were having second thoughts about whether or not they were going to come back to San Francisco, and because of you they not only came back to San Francisco, but are looking toward the future of returning to San Francisco," said Mayor Breed.
The mayor says the city's 92 welcome ambassadors are on hand to help visitors and conventioneers. But, they're also an important layer of security. "They're the eyes and ears on the streets, but they bring a friendly face to it," said Mayor Breed. "And it's really to the purpose of making sure that everyone knows they are welcome here in San Francisco."
The ambassadors say they take their jobs seriously, welcoming visitors and generally keeping an eye on the streets and visitors. "Make them feel safe and also they don't have to worry about car break-ins, because that's a thing people worry about or going to certain parts of the city and they're like 'Oh, where do I not go to?' And it's like, 'No, go have fun," said Brittany Kendrick one of San Francisco's welcome ambassadors.
San Francisco's Union Square says it's had its own version of welcome ambassadors since the 1990s. The Union Square ambassadors in blue and the city's welcome ambassadors in orange work side by side on the streets and taking some of the burden off police who are also highly visible in the area. "Really gives them an opportunity to free them up to allow them to really respond to things that are important for their attention and at that level,' said Marisa Rodriguez from the Union Square Alliance. "It's much better for us to have our ambassadors supporting people if it's a first aid crisis, if it's directions, if it's figuring out where to go for restaurant organizations."
Over the last year, the city's ambassadors have logged more than four million interactions with visitors in the city, giving directions a quarter million times, and offering 14,000 restaurant recommendations.