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  • Downtown
    Enjoy a huge range of entertainment, dining, shopping and sightseeing opportunities, all within an easy, eye-catching 10-minute walk.
    West Side
    From tigers and coffee to meat markets and Mexican restaurants, the West Side is a fascinating mix of old-school and up-and-coming.
    Grit, growth and creativity characterize this downtown neighborhood, which boasts unique galleries, clever dining spots and many pleasant…
    Heritage Hill
    One of the nation’s top old-house neighborhoods – with 1,300 buildings dating back to 1844 – is just a five-minute walk from downtown.
    Medical Mile
    This world-class health-sciences corridor is spurring new retail and residential developments well beyond its namesake mile.
    North Quarter
    The city’s largest park, tiniest burger joint, oldest sweet shop and newest best-bar winner are just a few of the pleasures that await visitors.…
    Diversity is the hallmark of Southtown, with numerous ethnic groups contributing to a vibrant mix of restaurants, shops and events.
    An eclectic mix of specialty shops, galleries, restaurants and entertainment venues reflect this area’s friendly, funky, fabulous character.

    Certified Tourism Ambassadors

    Become a Grand Rapids Tourism Ambassador!

    You can help make Grand Rapids an even more enjoyable experience for visitors - and advance your career at the same time!

    Grand Rapids Certified Tourism Ambassador Logo

    If you work or volunteer in the local tourism or hospitality industry, you can become a Certified Tourism AmbassadorTM (CTA). This official industry designation is presented by Experience Grand Rapids on behalf of the nationwide Tourism Ambassador Institute®.

    Why Become a CTA?

    The goal of the CTA program is to increase tourism - by inspiring front-line employees and volunteers to turn every visitor encounter into a positive experience.

    Through reading assignments and a half-day of in-class participation, front-line personnel will learn:
    • their role in increasing tourism
    • the best practices for creating a good experience
    • specific features of Grand Rapids and West Michigan
    • how to utilize local resources
    • how to exceed customer expectations

    Courtney, a Certified Tourism Ambassador in Grand Rapids

    Armed with this training and professional certification, front-line personnel will better inform, impress and empower visitors, greatly enhancing their enjoyment of our city.

    During the first 6 months of the year CTAs can also take advantage of free enhanced training on the following topics:

    • Cultural Diversity
    • Disability Advocates
    • Gender & Sexuality Ally Training
    • City Sneak Peek with the City Senior Planner
    • Human Trafficking
    • Emergency Homeland Security Training for Citizens
    • Navigating the Rapid & DASH Bus System
    • Be Nice Training

    Front-Line Benefits

    The Certified Tourism AmbassadorTM designation is a nationally recognized measure of excellence and a great résumé enhancer. It can lead to increased business, higher tips, career advancement and more.

    Employer Benefits

    Research shows that Certified Tourism AmbassadorsTM on staff improves customer service ratings, employee satisfaction and team morale. All of which helps encourage repeat business.


    There is a one-time application fee of $35.00 per person and an annual renewal fee of $10 to participate in the CTA program.

    Sign Up!

    View a class schedule and enroll in a session at

    Already a CTA?

    If you are currently a certified tourism ambassador, be sure to login to the CTA Network to record your points and to renew your certification! You will need 50 points to renew along with a small fee of $10 prior to October 31. Please contact Lisa Verhil for assistance with your password or logging in to the website.