Maine Woods Tourism Training Initiative
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The Maine Woods Tourism Training Initiative was created by the Maine Woods Consortium to deliver a comprehensive, multi-modal training program to meet educational needs expressed by tourism businesses and their employees in the Maine Woods region. MWTTI began by organizing county networks of public and private training providers in Franklin, Piscataquis, and Washington counties and expanded in 2010 to include Aroostook, Oxford and Penobscot. Somerset County joined MWTTI in 2013 fulfilling the goal of having all seven Maine Woods counties participating in the program.
Since MWTTI began in 2010, county training networks have organized 98 workshops for local tourism businesses. Approximately 1,150 people attended these workshops, representing 595 businesses with 378 tourism specific businesses. Trainings primarily addressed topics including customer service, social media marketing, and Know Your Region training.
To help overcome the barriers that prevent small businesses from attending workshop training, the MWTTI Planning Team collaborated with the Maine Small Business Development Centers in 2010 to create a free basic customer service online workshop. To take this a step further and offer a more advanced training module with a certificate of completion, the Center for Tourism Research and Outreach at the University of Maine Business School partnered with MWTTI to develop Welcome ME (pronounced Welcome Maine). This free, high quality web-based customer service training focuses on the important components of delivering quality service and creating memorable experiences for customers. Click here to find out more about Welcome ME.
County networks are currently planning a next round of trainings for the spring. To learn more, contact Jessica O'Hare at the Northern Forest Center – firstname.lastname@example.org and (603) 229-0679 ext 108, or a member of the Maine Woods Consortium Coordinating Team.
Grants to Hire Consultants
Matching funds are available to offset the costs of expert advice to help strengthen your tourism business.
The Maine Woods Tourism Training Initiative is offering a limited number of small grants ($500 - $1,000) to help tourism companies secure expert assistance needed to take their business to the next level. The new program will provide up to 50% of the cost for one on one consulting to help businesses implement strategies related to past and ongoing training workshops in the areas of marketing, social media marketing, regional destination training, customer service, customer relations management, financial management and other areas of innovation. Recipient businesses are required to provide at least half of the project cost.
Consulting assistance is available to established tourism businesses that have been in operation for at least three years, and have paid employees. Eligible tourism businesses include visitor attractions, lodgings, restaurants, recreation providers and other ventures that cater primarily to Maine Woods visitors. Preference will be given to businesses that have participated in Maine Woods Tourism Training Initiative workshops.
Contact Jessica O'Hare for more information. email@example.com or 603-229-0679 x108
Learn more from this downloadable flyer.
Spring training opportunities will be posted soon.