Tourism in Franklin County is growing. As Franklin County Visitors Bureau (FCVB) moves closer to creating the 11/30 Center in downtown Chambersburg, it is joining the Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) program. The CTA program empowers communities, residents, organizations and businesses to better serve visitors with consistent, quality information. To develop the program in Franklin County, FCVB hired Doug Harmon as CTA Director.
“I am so pleased to be part of the Franklin County Visitors Bureau,” said Harmon. “I am a native of Franklin County, PA and love the opportunity to help promote local events, festivals, entertainment, dining and lodging to explore Franklin County.”
Harmon said the benefits of the CTA Program are numerous. Each builds on the other and leads to a benefits cycle, which includes enhancing the visitor experience. In turn, the CTA program builds a positive destination image, increases community economic impact and then continues the cycle.
The CTA Program is a nationwide certification, customized to each destination. In Franklin County, the CTA curriculum will highlight the county’s natural, historic, and cultural assets. Visitors ask questions. The CTA program prepares people to give the best answers. In turn, visitors have a positive experience. It creates a Franklin County brand, gives quality service, and grows the tourism industry. Annually, Franklin County secures more than $326 million in visitors spending.
The initial hiring of a dedicated CTA Program director was funded with a Regional Capacity Building Grant, which is made by possible by the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network, Environmental Protection Agency, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Franklin County Visitors Bureau was part of the South Mountain Collaborative and received a Regional Capacity Building Grant for $20,000. Capacity Building grants help to build civic engagement and social understanding of conservation and environmental respect in all aspects of community life with a diverse spectrum of partners.
Franklin County Visitors Bureau now joins over 17,000 workers and volunteers in the network of CTA programs.
The 11/30 Center makes securing, housing, and training a county-wide corps of these interpretive volunteers achievable. In addition to the space to house the volunteers, the 11/30 Center provides the necessary space to house the volunteers but provides a visual and interactive platform for docents to launch tours and enthuse visitors into planning itineraries one-on-one. The center will host a wide range of tours on a weekly and monthly basis, using interactive exhibits, library, and mobile promotional materials. In addition, the second level of the property is a space that can be used for other special events to complement special events, presentations, book signings and more.
This dynamic center will also be handicap accessible enabling all to access displays, exhibits and event space.
Becoming a partner with the Visitors Bureau will then lead to great experiences, Harmon said.
“The value of the initial visit or purchase, with a positive experience and image, will then continue the cycle of growth,” he said. “The CTA program will help us to better serve visitors and grow tourism throughout the county.”
The CTA initiative involves a seven-month development process,. FCVB begins the process on October 25 with a series of focus groups, a subject matter expert panel, and an extensive online/print survey of front-line and management personnel. This extensive research will help FCVB and CTA to summarize perceptions of the current service level in Franklin County, ascertain needs, and obtain your thoughts and opinions.
If you are interested in finding out more about the CTA program, please contact Doug Harmon at firstname.lastname@example.org