Living in an area, you may start to feel as if you know everything – where to go, what to eat, and what to do – but are often missing out on more than you can imagine.
One of the exciting programs that is offered by Explore Flint & Genesee, the local Convention and Visitors Bureau, is the Certified Tourism Ambassador program. Certified Tourist Ambassadors, or CTAs, are trained locally and certified through a national agency. What CTAs do is serve as, like the name implies, ambassadors to Flint & Genesee.
CTAs are both a welcome wagon and a knowledge base. The program activates local professionals to further engage them with the community and helps build their service skills along the way. They also help people that are either new to an area or unfamiliar with all of its amenities discover the information they need to get the most out of their visit or their day-to-day life.
The CTA program began in the Flint & Genesee area in 2016 and applicants to the program come from all over the county and many take the class for accreditation due to their working in the hospitality industry, though that is certainly not everyone.
In signing up for the class you are given a binder with information specific to Flint & Genesee that gives a history of the area, talks about the attractions, and offers ways to help people who may need information or directions. The half-day class itself isn’t academic so much as training in how to be a CTA and a refresher and expansion of what was read to give it practical application. By the end, you take the CTA test and will earn your accreditation.
Classes are facilitated by people who are not only active community members but who are also CTA’s themselves, offering participants insight into how the program has helped them in their careers as well as their lives. In taking the class, you will learn history and trivia you never knew before and will leave it having a better understanding of the area and all it has to offer. Another bonus that cannot be underestimated is the chance to learn from people who are leaders in the community and who are now going to be part of your circle of contacts.
What makes the CTA program so impactful is that it activates people who are already living in the areas that they are serving and allows them to engage with fellow residents and visitors to spread their passion for Flint & Genesee. With the help of their training, CTAs are part of a network of professionals that are now helping to spread the message of how special Flint & Genesee is and inspires others to want to experience it for themselves. By being a beacon for people coming here that are not familiar with the area, CTAs help to make sure that the gems of the many nearby locales are not overlooked.
After earning their certification, CTA’s are also offered opportunities to continue their education, tour the region, and network with others at special events. Professionally, ambassadors are joining a strong network of fellow members, are gaining a nationally recognized certification, and are honing their skills in customer service.
Becoming a CTA galvanizes passionate professionals and brings them into a growing network of cheerleaders for Flint & Genesee. CTAs put their knowledge of the area and its history and attractions to work for them in their careers and as members of the community. CTAs become invaluable assets in telling the story of our area and reminding people of the beauty and wonder of Flint & Genesee.
If you are interested in learning more about the program, you can head here for more information.