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Sonoma County CTA Program

Sonoma County Tourism launched the Certified Tourism Ambassador program to train front-line employees and volunteers in the hospitality industry. The goal is to improve visitation by inspiring front-line hospitality employees and volunteers to work together to turn every visitor encounter into a positive experience. Please read this visitor blog post to hear about impressive "SONOMA-STYLE SERVICE".


The CTA Program is the most significant and successful destination knowledge program ever created in Sonoma County. In the last 3 years 1,300 tourism professionals have engaged with the program.

You are invited to Invest in your professional development and earn your CTA designation in this compelling, interactive four-hour class followed by a one-hour open book test. This prestigious designation will follow you throughout your career as you renew annually by attending key Sonoma County events and networking with your peers.

Enroll today and bring a friend. Learn more about the program and sign up for a class at www.CTANetwork.com.


CTA Exclusive Event

Check your email for the June & July Newsletter for upcoming events.

CTA Networking Mixer
Attendees will get to enjoy an exclusive after-hours peek at the Art Museum, History Museum, and Sculpture Garden, while enjoying delicious local wines and hors d'oeuvres. Our Museums are currently featuring an exhibit from the National Guitar Museum, titled "Medieval to Metal: the Art and Evolution of the GUITAR" and stunning large-scale abstract artwork by Berkeley artist, Tom Holland. 

When: Friday, July 22nd

Museums of Sonoma County
425 7th Street, Santa Rosa

Robert Young Estate Winery
Balletto Winery
DeLoach Vineyards
Silver Oak Winery
Twomey Cellars
Hors d'oeuvres by the Union Hotel
And more!

Free to attend, $5 drink bracelets available for purchase at the door.

RSVP for yourself and a friend too: Click here to register 

Katie Azanza, Operations Manager, Museums of Sonoma County, kazanza@museumsc.org, (707) 579-1500 x 101


CTA Exclusive Art Trails Open Reception
CTAs are invited to a private reception with the artists to sip wine, mingle with the exhibiting artists and learn about the Art Trails experience to share with visitors.
CTA Exclusive Art Trails opening reception 
Date: Friday, September 23, 2016 
Time:  4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. (Prior to the public reception at 6:00 PM)
Cost: $10 per person includes reception
Points: 5 for Education
Registration:  CTAs & you may bring one guest. Please register separately. Click here to register
Questions? Linda Galletta, Executive Director, Sebastopol Center for the Arts, lindag@sebarts.org, 707.829.4797


Upcoming 2016 Classes:

If you are interested in receiving more information, please email us at mmcelroy@sonomacounty.com.


CTA Renewal Certification

In order to maintain the CTA designation, all CTAs are expected to continue their education and grow their capabilities on an ongoing basis, year-after-year.  This process is called Renewal of Certification. See more info.



Read past CTA E-News here:

October 2015
August 2015


Certified Tourism Ambassadors of the Year

Awards were given to CTAs who exemplify excellence in hospitality and customer service. These individuals consistently exceed customers' expectations, possess a strong knowledge of the region and its attractions, and promote the ideals of Sonoma County Tourism and the Tourism Ambassador Institute.

Congratulations and my heartfelt thank you to all the nominees and winners. They are listed by geographical area:

Central Sonoma County
Kim Caffrey, DeLoach Vineyards (Winner)
Ray Crowder, California Welcome Center
Maggie Wager, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts

North Sonoma County
Chris Eberle, Rochioli Winery
Beth Sawatzky, Sonoma Wine Library (Winner)
Carol Vaughan, Soda Rock Winery

Pacific Coast
Evan Anatra, Rivers End Restaurant (Winner)
Alicia Ginochio, Sonoma Concierge
Amanda Vineyard, The Links at Bodega Bay

Russian River
Cameron Mills, Dawn Ranch Lodge
Megan Perkins, Russian River Vacation Homes
Mike Von der Porten, Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods (Winner)

Sonoma Valley
Anne Johnson, Beau Wine Tours
Pat Pulverenti, Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau (Winner)
Randy Radcliff, Sonoma Signature Tours

West County
Shiva Emdadian, Lok Group & Company (Winner)
Gabriele Gatdula, Osmosis Spa
Kim Wise, Dutton Estate Winery

Shining Star Award
Congratulations to Jennifer Buffo from Pure Luxury Transportation.

CTA of the Year (and nominee for the national CTA awards)
Mike Von der Porten, Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods

Mike was on the founding team for our program and is responsible for the CTA Program becoming part of the curriculum at the Santa Rosa Junior College and several of the local high schools in 2016. Mike, you truly deserve to win the national award. Thank you for being a remarkable example of service excellence in Sonoma County.


Familiarization Trips

Be sure to read the CTA Monthly Ambassador Newsletter for upcoming trips around the county to include farms, wineries and attractions. Check out the recent hightlights.


CTA Freebies and Discounts  

We have been invited to Osmosis Spa for a great deal on Enzyme baths, Korbel Winery , Soulstice Spa, and Sonoma Canopy Tours, and more. Remember to add an offer from your company too so we can come and visit you. Earn points for taking advantage of these offers. Find more info       


Custom CTA Name Badges Now Available

You may now order your very own Name Badge from our local supplier.

Crown Trophy Petaluma
1350 Industrial Ave #A
Petaluma CA 94952
(707) 766-6820 Fax (707) 766-9482

REF:  CTA name badge
$11.00 per badge plus 8.25% tax


"Well, it's official — I'm a Certified Tourism Ambassador for Sonoma County! I had to study a lot, complete a number of learning exercises, take a grueling half-day class, and pass a test, and now I have my fancy lapel pin. What does this mean? CTAs are basically people who help you at any step in a visit to the region, providing background information, helpful tips and advice — we make it way more likely that, on your way out of town, you say "wow, that was awesome! Next time, you're coming with me!" to all your friends! I learned a lot while I was studying and already used some of it! My sister is coming to visit with her dog and I found a list of dog-friendly beaches in the Visitor's Guide; and yesterday I surprised a library patron asking about the county seat with the fascinating history of the campaign between Petaluma and (ultimately victorious) Santa Rosa to become the new county seat in 1854 (moving from the city of Sonoma). Thanks, Ken Fischang, for poking me until I actually got around to signing up! It was a super fun and useful class! "Jon Haupt, Sonoma County Wine Library

“I recently attended the classes for the CTA Program and found that the notebook materials are well organized and helpful in understanding the role we have in being ambassadors for the people coming into Sonoma County. My own business handles corporate groups for meetings and incentive programs – often for international visitors. The materials help me to know the amazing resources that are available for producing an elaborate, colorful and accurate proposal. The best part of the CTA Program is Mo McElroy, CIS, the Chief Sonomambassador, who is a delightful teacher in the classroom. Mo is able to highlight the important parts of the materials and include the diverse attendees in the interactive format which makes learning more successful. Her knowledge is extensive and is enlightened as the day continues. It could have been a crash course – but with Mo as the driver we were able to have a smooth approach and get a lot done in one day. The ongoing follow-up outside of class will help us to stay on the path for continuing education. I have several college degrees and a few professional certifications – I have attended seminars and taught seminars in over 20 countries – but I must commend this program since it is succinct and encourages the goal of becoming an ambassador and training people for the task. Thanks for making my job easier and more professional.”  Sincerely, Jim Skiba, CIS, CMP

Volunteer Opportunity!

Sonoma County Tourism is seeking outgoing, personable, friendly volunteers to help interview travelers departing the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport as part of an exciting and interesting research project. Get involved in this once-a-month survey today by contacting research@sonomacounty.com or by calling 707-522-5800 (ask for Beth). You will also be eligible to earn CTA points by volunteering! Find more info.

1000th Certified Tourism Ambassador for Sonoma County

Congratulations to Antoinette Allison of Pure Luxury, the 1000th Certified Tourism Ambassador for Sonoma County. The CTA program trains front-line tourism staff to make every visitor experience a positive one. Visitors - look for a CTA around Sonoma County for answers to your questions! Nice work Antoinette!