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Parking fines sans frontieres

In the cosmopolitan city of Salisbury, they quip that you can get a parking ticket in 10 different languages. Council-employed car park attendants have been retrained and renamed "city ambassadors" in a bid to "dispel the myth that they're nasty people", said head of economic development and tourism, Sandy Hopkins.

The revamp is not just politically correct gloss, since the customer-friendly diplomats of Salisbury's car compounds have recently returned from learning a raft of new skills at Salisbury College.

The initiative forms part of Tourism 2000, a district-wide marketing partnership that includes 270 private sector members and the college. Members were very keen to sponsor the car park attendants. Since tourism is worth Pounds 86 million to the local economy, they are pulling together to try and make Salisbury the most friendly place in England.

The 14 attendants took a Welcome Host course followed by eight sessions of language training at the college. They learnt basic phrases in French, Italian, German and Spanish that will equip them to greet Salisbury's annual influx of two million visitors.

"It's great to see the attendants speaking to visitors in their own language", said Ms Hopkins.

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