CTA Accredited Provider Summit Hailed by Attendees

Posted 01/07/2014

by Todd McElwee

More than 30 Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) program leaders attended the Sixth Annual CTA Accredited Provider Summit from Dec. 2-4, sharing their thoughts CTA Summit Leaderson how to enhance and further develop the accreditation program as well as local and national tourism efforts.

The leaders assembled at the Omni Tucson National Resort in Tucson, Ariz. The Tourism Ambassador Institute (TAI), the accrediting body for the CTA program, is receiving high marks for the event.

"There was just tons of energy, Mickey Schaefer, CAE, CTA, president of Mickey Schaefer & Associates, which operates the Tourism Ambassador Institute, told USAE. "Everyone who attended can use this as a real competitive advantage when selling their cities."

Together, the program leaders formed CTA Accredited Provider Summit Hailed by Attendees strategies for running 19 individual city and regional programs, which train tourism volunteers and workers on how to enhance the experience of visitors to their destinations.

"I enjoyed spending time sharing ideas with other CTA cities," said Christina Dawson, CTA, Vice President
of Partnership Development for the Anaheim/Orange County VCB.

Attendees swapped ideas about CTA event staging,creating social-media communities, and improving CTA education and instruction. They shared best practices, including how to increase CTA media coverage.

"We come back with ideas from other destinations and we all want CTA to be the best program nationally," said Julie Pingston, CMP, CTA, Sr. Vice President of the Greater Lansing CVB. "Above all, we come back really energized for our program."

A celebration commemorating the certification of the 10,000th CTA Celebrate 10000in August was also held. San Antonio, Columbus, and Sonoma County's programs surpassed expectations, with 1,000 certified professionals during their first year.

Attendees also learned about initiatives by the Experience Institute, a CTA sister organization focusing on delivering an exceptional total visitor experience. The Experience Dedicated Destination accreditation program constitutes the core of the Experience
Institute's mission.

"The Experience Institute with its Experience Dedicated Destination (EDD - We are Ed) accreditation program will help destinations deliver a visitor-centric
approach to shaping and measuring the experience," Schaefer says.

That approach will focus on visitor-experience standards, measurement of those standards and advanced education and training to meet those standards.

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