Full Program FAQ
What is the Certified Tourism Ambassador™ (CTA) Program?
CTA Program Objective: "To increase regional tourism by inspiring front-line hospitality employees and volunteers to turn every visitor encounter into a positive experience."
Accredited through the Tourism Ambassador Institute® and administered at the local level, the Certified Tourism AmbassadorTM (CTA) program is industry-recognized certification. It's the only program in existence today that gives an official designation (John Sample, CTA) to individuals - from Mayors, to General Managers, to Drivers, to Waiters - people who care about their destination and want everyone who visits to talk positively about their experience.
With over 10,000 current CTAs, the program has proven success in aligning the destination's people infrastructure - its stakeholder businesses and front-line - to build tourism by Enhancing the Visitor ExperienceTM. Through its locally-customized curriculum, the CTA program focuses on the experience given to visitors, whether they are leisure travelers, business travelers, or attendees.
The CTA program is administered at the local level by a tourism-related entity that has become accredited to offer the program. To see if there's a CTA program in your area, go to CTA Destinations.
How do I find out if there's a CTA program in my city/region?
As a CTA, you'll have the tools and knowledge necessary to create a more memorable visitor experience and you'll reap the benefits!
Why should I become a CTA?
- Industry Networking: Expands your industry social network; network locally and internationally.
- Recognized Certification: Provides you with a meaningful, industry-recognized credential (e.g. John Smith, CTA) that is visible to family, friends, employers, co-workers and visitors! Use CTA behind your name on your business cards and e-mail signature. Display your certificate and wear your CTA pin with pride ─ it's a great conversation starter and shows visitors you're certified!
- Stay In The Know: Helps you stay 'In The Know' with regular updates about new developments or other industry happenings in your area.
- Freebies & Discounts: Gain first-hand knowledge of things visitors ask about! Print coupons to redeem free or discounted prices to participating restaurants and attractions. Offered for your family too, in some instances! Over $100 value in many destinations.
- $$$: Increases business which may lead to more tips or pay increases.
- Ongoing Education: Access online videos, classes, readings and more to continue your education.
- Annual Renewal: Shows your commitment to your CTA designation and the industry; 50 points per year required.
- Career Advancement: CTAs report being promoted because of their commitment to the tourism industry. And, savvy employers are hiring CTAs over non-CTAs. CTA is a great resume-builder that may give you an edge over other job candidates.
Event Calendar: Help Visitors in Real Time
Attractions: Printable Handout for Visitors
CTA Connect: Social Media and International CTA Directory
Networking and Educational Events: Exclusive Experiences for CTAs
Record Renewal Points Online: On Any Device, As You Earn Them
CTA Exclusive Social Media: Post Photos, Share Your Insight and Experiences
CTA Star Award: Nominate Yourself or Other CTAs
'Need to Know' Section: Keeps You Up-to-Date on Local Happenings
CTA Insider e-Newsletter: Keeps You Abreast of Industry Issues & Trends
What do I need to do to become a CTA?
Every certification program requires successful completion of a core curriculum. The following recaps the requirements to earn and maintain the CTA designation:
- Complete the Enrollment Application (online or paper) and pay the application fee
- Select an upcoming class that fits your schedule
- Complete required reading and pre-class exercises
- Attend the classroom session and actively participate in all classroom exercises
- Earn a passing score on the open-book exam at the end of the session
- Demonstrate your commitment to earning the CTA designation by renewing your certification annually (50 points per year by visiting attractions, attending networking events, reading, etc.)
Upon successful completion, participants will earn the Certified Tourism AmbassadorTM designation and receive a CTA certificate and lapel pin. An annual renewal process of certification is also necessary to maintain your certification.
What do I receive if I become a CTA?
Upon successful completion of the program you'll receive:
- A certificate, suitable for framing, showing your designation as a CTA
- A gold lapel pin which identifies you as a Certified Tourism AmbassadorTM
- Exclusive log-in access to the entire CTANetwork.com web site where you can take advantage of exclusive offers, information and networking opportunities available only to CTAs!
How much does it cost?
There is a modest, one-time enrollment fee and a modest annual certification renewal fee, both of which are $49 or under. The specific fees for your city are shown within the enrollment application. The fee is kept low - less than $1.00 per week - as the program is highly subsidized by key industry stakeholders who have united together to bring this program to their destination.
What is taught? What will I learn?
The CTA program is highly customized for each destination through extensive research. The learning material covers the important elements of tourism, regional attributes/attractions, resources, and a customer service refresher in four, in-depth modules.
The curriculum is delivered through pre-class reading assignments (approx. 150 pages), exercises, and in-class participation. The four-hour, interactive classroom setting makes it an interesting, fun way to expand your knowledge and your ability to answer visitor questions.
CTAs consistently give the classroom experience a 4.5 on a scale of 5.0. They not only learn, they also meet new people and expand their network!
Where and when are classes taught?
Classes are conducted regularly, at various times and in various locations, throughout your area. Go to the Schedule of Classes and select a class that fits your schedule.
How do I apply and sign up for a CTA class?
Signing up is easy!
- Go to Sign Up for a Class on the home page and click on Application Form.
- IMPORTANT: Before completing the application, make sure there is a CTA program in your area!
- Review the Schedule of Classes and select a class that fits your schedule, or indicate you'll select it later.
- Complete the Application Form and finalize payment.
- If you prefer, a paper-based application is also available.
What happens if I become a CTA and move to an area where no CTA program is offered?
You will go into the "CTA At Large" category where you can maintain your CTA designation and obtain regular national updates. If you later move to a city where a CTA program is offered, once you change your address, you'll automatically be enrolled in that city's program.
- Learn more about the program and its importance to your company and its importance to your city/destination.
- Work to promote the program throughout your organization at every opportunity.
- Determine the "best and brightest" of your front-line employees or volunteers who are most likely to be "early adopters" to become certified. Then, encourage other staff or volunteers to do the same.
- Help assist the local administrator (CVB, etc.) in capturing measures/data that can help evaluate the program's value.
- Offer incentives (i.e., free or discounted admission, food, etc.) to encourage CTAs to visit your place of business. Give CTAs first-hand experience with your establishment so they can tell visitors what you have to offer.
- Provide your observations and suggestions for improving the program over time.
- Recognition, recognition, recognition in every way possible to show your appreciation for team members who make the commitment to become a CTA.
Who should become a CTA?
Anyone that is directly or indirectly involved in serving visitors!
Who gets the questions about things to see and do? YOU
Who gets asked for directions? YOU
Who gets a chance to create a positive and memorable experience? YOU
CTAs from all parts of the industry are joining together, including the following industry sectors:
- Attraction/Site/Venue (museum, cultural, gaming, sports, etc.)
- City/County/State Government
- Convention Center/Conference Center
- Hotel/Lodging (hotel, motel, B&B, RV park, etc.)
- Restaurant (upscale, café, etc.)
- Tourism Entity (CVB, DMO, Chamber, etc.)
- Transportation (shuttle, cab, limo, etc.)
- Other (education, hospital, real estate, corporation, banking, etc.)
CTAs by their very nature, are people who want to give back...they want to make sure they leave a good impression on the visitor. And, that builds pride, which is a powerful feeling!
Here's what your fellow CTAs said the exceptional front-line employee or volunteer does consistently:
- Puts strangers at ease - helps them
- Is dedicated to their employer and city
- Sets aside their own beliefs and problems to serve the customer
- Sees work as more than a "job"
- Asks and listens to start the visitor relationship - Every time they engage they're building a bond
- Gives them options...if they want to shop, tells them about the mall, boutique shops, etc.
- Makes them smile...even if they've been frustrated traveling here
- Uses information as their "tool" - they're "armed"
- Spreads the word about current things going on - who's in town, etc.
- Is proactive - if the "lost" visitor doesn't come to them, they go to the visitor
- Treats them as if it's the first time they've heard the question, even if they've heard it 100 times.
- Gives a little bit of themselves in the interaction
- Smiles and has fun!
If this describes you, you should become a CTA!!