Executive Director Carla Campos has announced the incorporation of the Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) Program, designed to train and prepare individuals within the tourism sector in customer service skills. According to the director, there is ample room for improvement in this particular area of tourism on the island.
Installed in over 30 U.S. destinations, the CTA program’s goal is to increase tourism by enhancing the visitor experience, providing future ambassadors with the tools to have a profound knowledge of the destination, including its history. The idea is to involve as many figures within the value chain of the tourism sector on the island, including municipal governments, tourism entrepreneurs, tour guides, museum staff, chauffeurs and Uber and taxi drivers, so that the visitor’s experience is improved on all fronts.
“The tourism culture in Puerto Rico has to be that we understand how important the tourism sector is for our economy and that even though we may not be direct providers of goods and services within the tourism sector, we all have a role to play when it comes to providing visitors with an excellent experience,” said Campos.
In the 30 destinations that have installed the CTA program, over 50,000 individuals have been certified as Tourism Ambassadors. A curriculum will be developed within the next six months and ideally, the workshops should be ready between March and February, with hopes of certifying 400 individuals in 2020.
As part of the Experience Dedicated Destination (EDD) Program, a data-gathering program designed to collect visitors’ feedback, the CTA workshops will be offered using this data and individuals will be trained on the specific needs that tourists have indicated in the minute-long, five-question surveys. This data will be reported every three months.
The first EDD workshop was already hosted by the PRTC in the Puerto Rico Convention Center earlier this month, teaching individuals how this data can be used to improve areas that visitors indicate are weaker than others.
In the course of two weeks, the curriculum is divided into three modules: the first, Puerto Rican history; the second, tourist attractions; and the third, customer service, which is organized and divided into a 157-page manual. During a four-hour, dynamic class, students will be able to go in-depth into these topics. This is also a great way for professionals to network, as Mickey Shaefer, founder and CEO of The Experience Institute, said this is one of the main advantages when taking these courses.
An exam, which is open book, is taken at the end of the course, and once passed, the certification is delivered. The course is also designed for students to continue studying once they have finished the course.
“To maintain the certification, individuals will have to report annually on the eligible activities they have undertaken in order to accumulate the required 50 points. Those eligible activities could be going to a tourist attraction, which are identified by a specific list, or going to a workshop,” said Campos.
The course has a cost of $50 and individuals interested can register via email.