Selma’s ambassadors prepare for training

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 9, 2004

Ambassadors to Selma don’t have to leave town to promote their city.

The Selma-Dallas County Centre for Commerce, Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Division and Selma’s Office of Planning and Development will hold a seminar this Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the Performing Arts Centre to teach people on the front line of tourism about Selma.

According to Elizabeth Driggers, director of the Office of Planning and Development, the seminar is the kickoff for a series of training sessions.

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“This will bring together businesses that tourists might go to,” Driggers said. “It’ll teach them about Selma’s events so they can be ambassadors for the city.”

Attendees to Tuesday’s seminar, which is during National Tourism Week and National Preservation Week, will receive informational packets detailing Selma’s attractions.

The information will teach what Selma has to offer and how to sell it to visitors.

“Most people visiting have heard about the beautiful historic districts, homes and museums,” Driggers said. “Many of the residents, though, take what we have for granted. They don’t realize that we are an asset. This is to further their education.”

Attendees to Tuesday’s seminar and future training sessions will learn hospitality and how to make visitors feel welcome. Skits performed on Tuesday will teach what to do and not to do when visitors come to town.

Patty Sexton, with Driggers’ office, said the seminar is critical. “Our tourism is one of our biggest resources,” Sexton said. “We can’t sell Selma if we don’t know Selma. We have to take responsibility ourselves.”

Lauri Cothran, executive vice-president of the Tourism Division, agreed. According to Cothran, the seminar will teach customer service.

Cothran discussed the seminar’s target audience when planning the seminar and decided on those employees tourists see first – gas station attendants, waiters and hotel staff. “We want to ensure they can give directions,” Cothran said. “We want to encourage visitors to stay longer and visit more places. It helps the community economically.”

People who visit a friendly town are more likely to speak positively about it to their friends and family, Cothran said. “If I go to a local place and get good service, I tell people about it,” she added. “It’s good business.”

Cothran will schedule future training sessions around the times people can attend. “Selma benefits from tourism,” Cothran said. “It brings a lot of money into this community.”

For more information, contact the Centre for Commerce at 875-7241.