Tourism series books a stay at BCCC

Published 6:30 pm Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The tourism industry is here to stay in Beaufort County and surrounding areas. Beaufort County Community College is offering a series to help local employees and business owners polish their skills to get ahead in the hospitality industry. Lynn Davis of Inner Banks Tourism Consulting will teach the series starting on Sept. 4.

“It’s the day-to-day encounters with gas station cashiers and housekeeping staff that shape a visitor’s impression of Beaufort County,” said Davis. “Since visitors are going to ask them for suggestions and information, all of these encounters play an essential role in the visitors experience.”

The hospitality and tourism industry employs people with a broad range of skills and interest, including guest services, host, facility maintenance, housekeeping, food services and security. According to the U.S. Travel Association, visitor spending in Beaufort County jumped by 4.6 percent in 2016 to $81.29 million, a record high. The industry in Hyde County sees $34.67 million in expenditures. Between 2013 and 2017, the City of Washington saw a 32 percent rise in the occupancy tax it collected, a major indicator of tourist spending.

The industry is estimated to employ 430 people in Beaufort County, resulting in payroll spending of $10.93 million. In Hyde County, 390 people work in the tourism industry. For business owners, this series can help get them and their staff tuned in to the needs of tourists to make their experiences memorable and inspire their return.

In “Intro to Hospitality & Tourism,” students will gain an understanding of the hospitality industry and its importance to eastern North Carolina. Lessons include local impact of visitor spending, how visitors make their decisions to visit, and industry trends. Students will also explore social media and its impact on decision-making for visitors.

With “Be a Tourist in Your Own Backyard,” they will learn about the local area, its attractions, and rea­sons people visit. This deeper knowledge of place will allow students to leave a positive impression with visitors. The segment will include guest speak­ers and possible field trips.

Davis will offer “Guest Services Gold” so students can learn the seven elements of exemplary guest service, taking the guest experience from the typical to the extraordinary. Successful completion of this course will earn the student Guest Service Gold certification from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute.

The series finishes up with “Getting the Job & Making It Stick.” In this final segment, students will learn and practice the soft skills needed to perform any type of job. Using role-play and discussion, students will explore interactions with visitors and customers. Groups will reason through issues and determine the best way to handle each situation. Students will work on delivery and communication skills that will help leave a lasting positive impression on employers and visitors.

Classes run on Tuesdays and Thursdays through Sept. 24. Call 252-940-6375 or email