Help grow Quad Cities via tourism ambassador program

Time is running out for those on the frontline of the tourism industry who want to help Visit Quad Cities create an effective Quad Cities Certified Tourism Ambassador (QCTA) program to grow tourism in the bi-state region.

The region’s destination management and marketing organization is urging those who work in all aspects of tourism and hospitality to take an eight-minute online survey by Friday, Jan. 21. Those interested in doing so can find the link here

Visit Quad Cities also urges companies and organizations to forward the link to their teams so they can fill it out by Friday. Visit Quad Cities has provided incentives for doing so. It will give away a $100 VISA Gift Card, a $50 local QC restaurant gift card, and a QC swag package to three participants who complete the survey. Winners will be chosen later in a random drawing.  

The QCTA program’s objective, according to Visit Quad Cities, is “to increase tourism by inspiring front-line hospitality workers to turn every visitor encounter into a positive experience.”

The regional tourism agency first announced its participation in the QCTA program in October. 

Dave Herrell

“Developing our destination experience and bringing customer-centric energy to add value is a top priority for Visit Quad Cities,” Dave Herrell, president and CEO of Visit Quad Cities, said in a news release. “The Certified Tourism Ambassador Program is a proven model that can further activate and empower tourism while building the depth of brand champions. We look forward to this process and to working alongside our stakeholders as it is an integral part of our destination vision and strategic plan. “

Visit Quad Cities hopes respondents’ answers “will provide valuable input about the body of knowledge that will be the foundation of a formal training and certification program for the front-line workers in our region.” The training, tourism leaders said, will lead to a formal, national designation as a Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) for those involved. 

“We encourage as many individuals as possible in your organization – both management and front-line – to complete the survey,” Visit Quad Cities said.

The CTA program is an industry-recognized certification accredited by the Tourism Ambassador Institute. Administered at the local level, CTA is the only program to give a formal designation to front-line employees, business owners, executives, government officials and volunteers. More than 50,000 people in the United States and Bermuda have been certified since the program’s inception in 2006.

The institute was founded by Mickey Schaefer, president of Mickey Schaefer & Associates LLC. 

“Having grown up just hours from (the) QC, it is a special privilege to bring the CTA program to your community,” Mr. Schaefer told Quad Cities tourism leaders in October. “Destination marketing and strategic planning often leaves out the most important ingredient – the infrastructure of the people in the area. Place creation, destination development and brand alignment are best achieved through an ongoing strategic connection between destination leaders, business stakeholders, residents and the frontline who make it happen.”

CTA programs strengthen the retention and development of hospitality talent, leading to improved guest satisfaction rates and employee morale, Visit Quad Cities said.

The CTA Quad Cities program follows the launch of the new QC Pro initiative last summer. That initiative aims to encourage all Quad Citians to get to know the Quad Cities better and to get more involved in tourism. To begin, people can register for free at

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