Chester Zoo is aiming to become the UK’s friendliest visitor attraction after receiving a prestigious customer service honour.

It has been accredited with official World Host Organisation status, recognising a commitment to excellence, as a result is delivering a major new programme of guest service training for its staff this summer.

Previously embraced by the 2012 London Olympics, with the ‘Games Makers’ heralded as an integral part to the success of the world’s biggest event, the customer service training programme has now been rolled out across 27 countries worldwide.

Known officially as World Host, the recognition programme is aimed at raising global customer service standards.

Now, Chester Zoo has become the UK’s first zoo to achieve the World Host Organisation accreditation.

Employing more than 800 people during the peak summer months and bringing more than £50 million to the regional economy every year, the Cheshire zoo has already trained more than 600 staff in the flagship customer service programme.

Jane Hubbard, director of HR at the zoo, said: “With more than 800 members of the team here, we’re a big family.  This is a commitment to invest in that family. So far, more than 600 members of staff have become proud World Host Ambassadors. We will gradually increase these numbers over the coming months and years.

 “As the UK’s most popular zoo and the most visited attraction outside of London and with nearly 1.9 million visitors flocking through our gates every year, we want each and every one to have an amazing day with us, and that day starts with a smile and warm welcome all the way through to a fond farewell.”

As well as a major tourist attraction, Chester Zoo is a conservation and education charity, using the income it generates to deliver 80 projects in 30 countries worldwide to protect a range of animal and plant species threatened with extinction.