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For the social act, see Greeting.

Greeters are volunteers who welcome tourists in their city or region, and show them around for free as they would do with friends or family. It is a form of social tourism; the residents participate in the activities of the tourists, and tourists get to see the local life of the place visited. During a walk through the city, a Greeter will not only point out interesting or unknown places, but also talk about daily life in the city and listen to what the guests have to say about their hometown.


The first Greeter initiative was New York's Big Apple Greeters, founded by Lynn Brooks in 1992.[1][2] It was hoped that the program, sponsored by Manhattan borough president Ruth Messinger, would improve New York's reputation as a "dangerous, expensive and overwhelming" place by letting tourists see it through the eyes of its residents.[1][3] This idea soon spread to a variety of tourist destinations across the world.

Participating cities and regions[edit]

The Global Greeter network is growing rapidly. Currently, more than 100 cities are offering Greeter services.

The Global Greeter Network[edit]

The Global Greeter Network (GGN) is an informal association of Greeters around the world. It annually meets to discuss common problems.

Core values[edit]

The GNN has defined six core values that are shared across all participating Greeter organizations:[4]

  • Greeters are volunteers, a friendly face for those visiting a city/destination
  • Greeters welcome individuals and may serve small groups of up to six people
  • Meeting a Greeter is free of charge
  • Visitors are welcomed without any kind of discrimination.
  • Greeter programs support sustainable tourism. Programs respects natural and man-made environments, it brings both cultural and economical enrichment to the local communities. Programs aim for a lasting positive image of each destination.
  • Greeter programs create a mutually enriching opportunity for cultural exchange, create links between ordinary people in creating a better world.


  1. ^ a b "About". Big Apple Greeters. Retrieved September 27, 2013. 
  2. ^ Allen, Anne Wallace (August 1, 2010). "Volunteers give free tours in cities around the world". USA Today.
  3. ^ Levy, Clifford J. (September 13, 1992). "Take My Hand, I'm a Stranger in Pandemonium". New York Times.
  4. ^ "Core Values". Global Greeter Network. Retrieved September 27, 2013.

External links[edit]