Answering questions

Published 9:15 am Saturday, February 17, 2007

By Staff
In an effort to make Washington a more tourist friendly place, the Washington Tourism Development Authority is offering a two-hour workshop at various times this week.
The workshop — Creating Partners in Tourism in the Heart of the Inner Banks — was developed in response to more tourist traffic in Washington. The workshop will be held Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at the Washington Civic Center. The sessions are free and open to the public.
It’s a good move by the Washington Tourism Development Authority to educate residents and others about the city and what it has to offer. The workshop is designed for people who work with the traveling public on a daily basis.
One of the workshop’s goals is to provide people — convenience-store clerks, waiters and waitresses and motel-hotel employees — with information to better help them better answer questions asked of them by visitors, according to Lynn Lewis, the city’s tourism development director. Lewis said she’s finding that many newcomers to Washington and even some Washington natives plan to attend one of the sessions to become better acquainted with the city.
Whether it’s a waitress who learns the city’s history as a bustling port of call and passes that information on to inquisitive tourists or a fifth-generation city resident who wants to get information about the N.C. Estuarium because he or she has never visited it, providing opportunities for people to educate themselves is an excellent move on the part of the Washington Tourism Development Authority.
Providing answers to visitors’ questions and information related to those questions will help enhance visitors’ encounters when they visit the city, Lewis said in an interview earlier this year. The workshop sessions will provide answers and information related to numerous questions often asked by visitors, Lewis said.
City officials believe the workshop sessions will result in an improved tourism industry in the city.
The mayor’s right. Educating the public, especially people who have daily contact with visitors, about what Washington has to offer visitors makes sense. When its work force can’t answer tourists’ questions about the city, it puts the city in a bad light. The work force shouldn’t be expected to answer all questions posed by tourists. But when a tourist asks for directions to the post office, it’s reasonable to expect someone who lives or works in the city to know where the post office is located.
Lewis, who will conduct most, if not all, of the workshop sessions, and the Washington Tourism Development Authority are doing commendable work. Their efforts to bring more tourists to Washington and have them return again and again are paying off.
Lewis and the Washington Tourism Development Authority, by way of the workshop sessions, are striving to provide visitors to Washington the best experiences possible. Lewis has a favorite question posed by visitors: What is there to do around here?
The response to that inquiry, according to Lewis, should be: Plenty.
She’s right. There is plenty to do in and around Washington, including attending one of the workshop sessions this week.
See you there.