Posted 02/26/2013

COLUMBUS, OH (Feb. 26, 2013) Just in time for Columbus largest annual event, 300 new tourism ambassadors are ready to hit the streets. Experience Columbus and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission launched the Greater Columbus Tourism Ambassador Program earlier this year and now more than 300 Certified Tourism AmbassadorsTM (CTAs) will be ready to ensure visitors feel welcome to the 2013 Arnold Sports Festival, Feb. 28-March 1.

The Certified Tourism AmbassadorTM (CTA) Program is a national certification and a respected professional achievement. The program is aimed at empowering and equipping locals to be ambassadors for the Columbus experience visitors receive. Through the program, frontline employees, ambassadors and volunteers can improve their knowledge of the region, craft answers to frequently asked visitor questions, interact with peers, share best practices and develop a better understanding of their role in increasing tourism.

To become certified, residents need to complete required reading and learning assignments, attend a half-day classroom session, pass an open-book examination and pay a $29 enrollment fee. When completed, participants will be a CTA and have the tools and knowledge to create a memorable visitor experience.

The renewal of certification process strengthens the CTA designation by encouraging all CTAs to grow their skills and expand their knowledge base from year-to-year. CTAs are required to renew annually, and the renewal fee is $20. CTAs can earn 50 renewal points total from fun activities including visiting attractions, attending CTA networking events, volunteering and more.

"The Greater Columbus Tourism Ambassador Program will engage our entire community and foster a culture of quality service and welcoming residents," said Brian Ross, President and CEO of Experience Columbus. "Along with the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, we are proud to be the only city in our competitive set offering the program and are doing so at a critical time as we move even more into the national spotlight as a meeting, convention and leisure destination."

Of the more than 300 CTAs currently certified, there is a diverse group of front-line hospitality employees, volunteers and general public with an interest in enhancing the visitor experience. Experience Columbus hopes to have 600 CTAs by the end of 2013. Program details, including the curriculum and enrollment information can be found at

As the convention and visitors bureau for Ohio's capital city, Experience Columbus' mission is to sell, market and promote the best of the destination to visitors. For more information about all Columbus has to offer for leisure visitors, sports, meetings, conventions and trade shows, go to or call 800-354-2657.

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