Smithfield and Isle of Wight Tourism celebrated all who work in and support our local tourism industry with a breakfast at the Smithfield Center on August 24, 2022 where we recognized our Community Ambassadors, our Hospitality Heroes our Hambassadors.
Congratulations to Julie Hess who won our raffle for an overnight stay at the Lighthouse at Smithfield Station and gift basket of local treats.
Smithfield & Isle of Wight Tourism recognizes the vital role our "front line" employees AND our residents play in the tourism industry to ensure our visitors have a positive experience. The Hambassador Program offers these employees and residents the opportunity to learn more about local attractions, accommodations, restaurants and shops in our town and county; their local tourism bureau (us!); and great customer service tips. These employees and residents - our Hambassadors - are then fully prepared to serve and interact with our visitors with quality customer service and the knowledge to offer them information on our local shops, restaurants, lodging and attractions.
This program is offered to all who care about OUR community including those who work in, contribute to, or support the tourism industry in Smithfield & Isle of Wight County - employees, employers, merchants, government employees, members of volunteer organizations, and interested citizens. We encourage employers to pay their employees for the time spent on the program.
Here is what a few of our participants had to say about the program:
"I find the program very valuable. Smithfield has visitors daily and to make them feel welcome it is important my employees know places to eat and things to see and do. The Smithfield Center has a constant stream of visitors attending meetings, weddings and other events and I never want to hear one of my staff members say" I don't know " when a visitor asks" what is there to do here?"
Amy Murrill Musick, Director, Smithfield Center and Outdoor Venues
“I loved finding out more about my town and county, what there is to see and do here and how I make a difference in bringing business, investment and capital through tourism in my own community. I now understand the link between tourism and our community’s quality of life.”
Bill Davidson, Volunteer, The Art Center@319
Once the three steps are completed, participants will receive a letter of reference (for students and job seekers), a Hambassador pin, and a certificate of completion. Our Hambassadors will also be recognized at the Tourism Bureau’s annual National Tourism Celebration.
PLEASE NOTE! The contact person for the Hambassador Program is Connie Chapman. To register for the program, make arrangements for your familiarization tour, or to answer any questions, Connie can be reached at email@example.com or at 757.365.1644 or 757.902.2164.
The first step is to watch our three short training videos. Don’t worry…there’s no test at the end. We simply ask that you watch each video. We hope you’ll find the information interesting and we’re certain you’ll learn something new about Smithfield & Isle of Wight and why YOU are so vitally important to our local economy and tourism industry.
We recommend watching the videos before moving on to Steps 2 & 3. Be sure to contact Connie when you’ve finished watching the videos and she will contact you to arrange your familiarization tour.
This step in the process is an important opportunity for you to experience Smithfield & Isle of Wight from the visitor’s point of view and see how easily you can influence other potential visitors.
Choose two establishments to visit - a local restaurant, shop, attraction or lodger. These are listed on GenuineSmithfieldVA.com. (If you’re employed locally, please do not choose to review your workplace).
Answer the questions on the inside of your Hambassador card to review each business.
Then post a review from one of your visits online on either Yelp.com, TripAdvisor or Facebook. Assistance is available if you are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with posting to travel sites. Contact Connie to make arrangements.
Finally, we ask that you sign up to volunteer at least one time at one of our larger tourism-sponsored special events. A list these events is below. Connie will contact you via email as volunteer opportunities come up throughout the year, or you can contact her if you have a preference to volunteer at a specific event.
TOURISM-SPONSORED SPECIAL EVENTS:
March: St. Patrick’s Day Parade
April: Country Spring Vintage Market
May: Smithfield Arts Festival
September: Autumn Art Show & Downtown Autumn Vintage Market
November: Evening Mistletoe Market & Carrollton Christmas Market
December: Downtown Smithfield Christmas Parade
What’s a fam tour? A "familiarization tour" is a guided tour of the wonderful attractions in our area. This tour is not taken to simply learn about our area. It offers our Hambassadors the opportunity to experience the attractions as a visitor would! Taking this tour will then make it much easier for you to speak knowledgeably about area sites to our visitors - from personal experience!
Participants will board the tourism van to visit the area’s two historic forts, St. Luke’s Church, the Isle of Wight County Museum, the Schoolhouse Museum, and more. Even if you have visited these sites before, you and your group will be given a personal guided tour of each attraction and the VIP treatment!
There is no set time or date for this tour. Contact Connie when you have watched all three videos to make arrangements for your fam tour to suit your schedule.
Register by contacting Connie Chapman. (You must be at least 16 years old to participate in the program.) Once registered, you will be given a Hambassador Card to keep track of your progress and to turn in at the completion of the program. When you have completed all three steps, contact Connie to let us know!
Dee B. Campbell