COLUMBUS – Since launching the Greater Columbus Tourism Ambassador™ Program in 2013, Experience Columbus and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission have successfully certified 2,000 Certified Tourism Ambassadors (CTAs) in just over two years. With 1,670 active CTAs, Columbus boasts the second largest CTA Program in the country.
The CTA Program is a national certification and respected professional achievement. It is aimed at empowering and equipping locals to be Columbus ambassadors. Through the program, frontline employees and community 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.
“When visitors come to Columbus, we want them to have the best possible experience in our city,” said Brian Ross, CTA, Experience Columbus president and CEO. “This is why one of our strategic initiatives is to enhance the visitor experience. Our CTAs help us to elevate Columbus as a meeting, convention and leisure destination.”
In addition to the CTA milestone, Amy Huggins, CTA, CMP, quality control services manager at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, was presented with the first-ever Greater Columbus CTA Star Award at the 2015 Experience Columbus Annual Meeting on March 10. She was recognized for exemplifying excellence in hospitality and customer service. Through an open nomination process, she was selected for consistently exceeding customer expectations and demonstrating exceptional knowledge of all that Columbus offers visitors. She will be eligible for the Tourism Ambassador Institute’s National CTA Star Award, announced in May 2015.
“We are so fortunate to have certified 2,000 Columbus residents who are ready, willing and able to assist visitors, provide great customer service and make it easy for them to love their Columbus experience,” said Robbie Banks, CTA, senior visitor experience manager for Experience Columbus.
About the CTA Program
Certification is achieved after completing required reading and learning assignments, attending a half-day classroom session and passing an open-book examination. The enrollment fee is $29 and covers the costs of the classroom materials.
CTAs are required to renew annually, and the renewal fee is $20. 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 can earn renewal points from fun activities including visiting attractions, attending CTA networking events, volunteering and more. Program details, including the curriculum and enrollment information as well as a list of all CTAs in Greater Columbus, can be found at www.JoinUSColumbus.com/CTA.
Experience Columbus is the destination marketing organization for the Columbus region, dedicated to growing visitor spending that is generated by conventions, meetings, trade shows and leisure visitors. Annually, visitors make more than 37.6 million trips to Greater Columbus, generating $8.7 billion in economic impact and supporting more than 71,000 jobs. For more information, visit experiencecolumbus.com.