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Free hospitality training coming this winter | National News

The Lake Martin Tourism Association (LMTA) is providing the opportunity for many to advance in the workforce.  

The association will host free hospitality training classes this winter in response to surging tourism throughout Tallapoosa County. 

According to Executive Director Brandy Hastings, the influx of travelers has skyrocketed over the past two years, with Alexander City tourism and lodging tax collections reaching an all-time record in both 2020 and 2021. 

State leaders in fact honored the non-profit for contributing to the tourism surge, naming LMTA Tourism Organization of the Year during an industry conference last week.  

Lake Martin Tourism Association named Tourism Organization of the Year

The Lake Martin Tourism Association (LMTA) knows how to share their love for Tallapoosa County. So much so that Alabama leaders honored the association last week with an award. 

“Because as we continue to grow as a destination itself, we also want to make sure our destination has good workers and good training for them,” Hastings said. 

Hastings noted that travel projections remain on par for this year as well, and as such the course will prepare residents for shifting workforce trends.   

The grant-funded course will span December 12-13, and will specifically train selected lodging, including workers employed at local hotels, campgrounds and other traveling services. 

“Anything that’s considered lodging, and it will be pretty immersive training, because we want to find ways to provide resources for businesses and help them have everything they need for good tourism,” Hastings said. 

LMTA President Ed Collari also noted the training as beneficial for more than the tourism industry, explaining that customer service transcends a variety of industries and careers.

“This free training deals with anyone that is customer facing, whether they’re tourists or not. We recognize that maybe the front desk person at the Hampton Inn, or the waitress at the local Huddle House, or the person checking out customers out at Winn Dixie need to understand what our market offers,” he said. “Because a lot of times that’s who the person from out of town will ask.”

Collari described area tourism as a vital economic driver, which in turns supports local community investments, including local businesses and residents. 

“We want to make sure they’re equipped with a good answer. So, it’s an opportunity for us to train people who are already working in our community and help them deliver the best experience they can for those that they encounter on a daily basis,” he said.  

Those that participate in the course will receive a certificate of completion.

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