By the way, what is a CTA? I get this question a lot so I thought I’d explain what it is.

CTA means Certified Tourism Ambassador and it’s a professional nationwide designation that you can earn by taking an initial class to learn the ins and outs of Grand Rapids! To renew each year, CTAs need to continue to experience the attractions in the city and log points online for a yearly renewal. So, yes, I got “credit” for recently visiting Boulder Ridge Animal Park in Alto, Butcher’s Uniondowntown (hello Bloody Mary’s!) and Millennium Park…all in the last week. I love being a tourist in my own city, so I try to rack up the points each year and see how many new places I can learn about!

Grand Rapids has one of the fastest-growing programs in the USA with almost 600 CTAs! (WOW!)

This hospitality and tourism industry designations are offered through Experience Grand Rapids and the goal is to increase tourism by inspiring employees and volunteers in the city to turn EVERY visitor encounter into a memorable, positive experience! These positive experiences bring people back to visit and generate new guests in our awesome city. Genius, right?!

People that have the CTA designation wear a pin when they are around the city so visitors know these people are approachable and happy to help at any time. You can find CTAs working in hotels, restaurants, schools, museums, and, of course, real estate. Even police officers are getting CTA certified to be able to assist and welcome folks in the community. (Side note: I wouldn’t be doing my job as a real estate agent without mentioning that I’d be happy to personally venture through the city with you if you are looking to buy, sell, or relocate to Beer City, USA!)

As a team, we immerse ourselves into the greatness that is Grand Rapids so if you need help getting from point A to B, if you want the scoop on the best Sunday brunch spots, if you want to know where the “hidden gems” of the city are, or if you just need to know how the heck to navigate ArtPrize, we are your people – connect with us!

Author: Brooke Finlan

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