Local hospitality employees navigating peak tourism season now have a new tool available to help them cultivate a memorable experience for visitors: Tourism Ambassador certification.
The new program is a free offering from the Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau for all visitor-facing hospitality employees in New Hanover County. The visitors bureau worked with Tourism Academy, a tourism education and development company, to create the online program in light of workforce disruptions resulting from the pandemic.
“As the hospitality/tourism industry continues to face a shortage of trained workforce, our intent is that the Tourism Ambassador training course will help familiarize front line employees with our destination’s assets, as well as provide visitor information tools, resources, and customer service training,” said Kim Hufham, president and CEO of the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority, in a release.
The Tourism Ambassador training involves 47 lessons divided into four modules. The CVB estimates the program will take between two-and-a-half and three hours to finish. According to the release, participants who complete the course will “cultivate a deeper understanding of the importance and benefits of tourism in our community” and learn about “destination attractions, hidden gems, and immersive experiences” available to visitors in Wilmington, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach.
They will also learn how to help visitors utilize the CVB’s trip-planning resources. In addition to a visitor’s guide, printed and published annually with nearly 100 pages of information about places to stay, eat, visit and play in the county, these resources include the new Mobile Trip Guide
. Launched in June, the web-based platform uses location services to customize recommendations for visitors, who can create an itinerary for their trip or simply share recommendations with others via email, text message or social media.
Those who complete the modules will receive a downloadable certificate deeming them a Wilmington and Beaches Tourism Ambassador.
These new initiatives were developed on the heels of a pandemic-era surge in visitors to the county. A record total of $22.6 million in room occupancy taxes was collected during the 2021-22 fiscal year, and at the visitors bureau’s Travel Rally breakfast in May
, Hufham said 2022-23 room occupancy tax collections were up nearly 7% so far.
More information about the Tourism Ambassador training can be found on the course website
, or by emailing the visitors bureau