Civil War visitors can expect royal treatment

Posted 03/27/2010
By Bennie Scarton, Jr. 

Welcome a new cadre...

A large number of visitors are expected to come to Prince William County during the upcoming 150th anniversary commemorations of the Civil War.

To assist people who may come in contact with the visitors, 54 individuals recently completed a national certification training course to learn how to couple the wealth of history and heritage found in the region with keen customer service to transform a good visitor experience into the exceptional one and improve the bottom line for area businesses.

The "Certified Tourism Ambassadors" have been welcomed into the CTA Network by the Prince William/Manassas Convention and Visitor Bureau and the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership. Now there are more than 300 new CTA's with the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.

Completing the specialized. four-hour course were Linda Allred and Mary Reilly, Creative Brush Studio; Jan Alten,  Joanne Wunderly and Christine Finnie, Manassas business owners; Phil Audibert and Darnell Elswick, Tourguide Ltd.; Michele Frantz, Manassas Art Guild; Doug Fulmer and Ellen Percy Miller, Turn The Mill Around Campaign; Charles Gilliam, Okra's Cajun Creole; Ann and Mark Hempen, Manassas Junction Bed and Breakfast; Nancy Mitchell, Mary Norris, Margaret Binning, Margaret Covington, Shirley Guy, Joanne Lunceford, Eleanora Hill, Bernadette McConnell and E. L. Dutch Schneider, Manassas Museum; Lynn O'Connell, independent contractor; Sarah Phillips, Leesylvania State Park; Amy Rodriquez, Seneca Ridge Inc./Leesburg Animal Park; Esther Marie Turner, Journey Through Hallowed Ground; Patrick Barney, 4 More Travel, Inc.

Also, Rene Cardenas, Sharon Cavileer, Susan Plattner, Noreen Yun, Kathy Martin and Jonathan Pick, PWC/Manassas CVB; Jean and Robert Harrover, Bennett House Bed and Breakfast Ann Harrover Thomas and Jane Riley, the Manassas Museum System. Anthony Fasano, Mary Thompson and Debbie Haight, Historic Manassas, Inc.; Hansa Patel, Econolodge; Michelle Rao, Laser Quest; Debra Swiszcz, Comfort Inn Suites; Rick Washco, Prince William County Park Authority; Ray Brown, Manassas National Battlefield Park; Dolores Elder and Phyllis Harrison, Prince William County Tourist Information Center; Brendon Hanafin and Desiree Wolf, Prince William County; Rob Orrison, PWC Historic Preservation Division; Kathleen Reilly, Virginia Welcome Center, Pam Sackett, Prince William Board of County Supervisors; and Linda Wright, Buckland Preservation Society and Cathy Gilbert-Silva, Prince William County-Greater Manassas Chamber of Commerce.

"I think the training class and the written materials are extremely informative and highly valuable, said Ann Hempen. "I highly recommend this class for fellow bed and breakfast owners and any retailer that depends on and interacts with visitors."

A fourth training session for frontline hospitality professionals who missed the previous sessions is planned for March 31 at the Hampton Inn, 7295 Williamson Blvd. Manassas. Those interested should go to or email .

"The Sesquicentennial of the Civil War has the potential to jumpstart the local economy, much like the Olympics or the Super Bowl coming to the region," said Cate Magennis Wyatt, president of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.

The Partnership is working retailers, hotel staff, waiter and bartenders, tour guides, police, airport staff and so on to help them reap the potential financial rewards from the flood of visitors expected during the four-year commemorations.

"As a writer, I have written about Virginia for more than 25 years and the Journey Through Hallowed Ground CTA class taught me about things I never knew. This training is effective and necessary for anyone who encounters a visitor," said Cavileer, interim executive director for the Visitors Bureau.

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