Chamber training to support tourismPosted 04/05/2013
STOCKTON - Aiming to improve the tourist's experience of Stockton, the Convention & Visitors Bureau is launching a new training program for hospitality workers and others in the community frequently in contact with visitors, such as real estate agents, hospital employees and retail clerks.
It's running an initial Certified Tourism Ambassador training now for bureau employees and others close to the agency and will officially offer classes more beginning May 2 to the wider community.
Executive Director Wes Rhea said the aim is to place hundreds of well-trained, knowledgeable ambassadors in the community to help meet visitor needs and provide direction.
"Our hope is we can start changing ... the experience they have here," he said.
The training itself goes beyond memorizing lists of attractions, entertainment and recreation options and hotel and dining choices, to interact with visitors to better meet their needs, Rhea said.
"It also really focuses on determining needs and interests ... and having the tools to guide them in the right direction," he said.
The Certified Tourism Ambassador training is a national certification program that since 2006 has been granted to more than 8,500 hospitality workers and volunteers in 17 states. They can be found at airports, museums, sports venues, government agencies, hotels and lodging, nightclubs, restaurants, retail shops, schools, banks and more.
After paying a $25 enrollment fee, trainees must complete reading and learning assignments, attend a half-day classroom session and pass an open-book exam. Graduates will receive a certificate and CTA pin.
The certification must be renewed annually, which can be accomplished through attendance at various activities, including visiting attractions, networking and volunteering at events.
The program should benefit both hospitality businesses and nonprofit groups, as well help advance the career of their employees.
Rhea aims to have more than 200 Certified Tourism Ambassadors in the community by year's end.
"It's a program that we hope will be around here for years and have hundreds of CTAs around," he said.
For more information, including curriculum and enrollment details, go online to StocktonAmbassadors.com or CTANetwork.com or telephone the bureau at (209) 938-1555.More Information