The Winneshiek County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce are seeking Tourism Ambassadors to provide volunteer support and assistance to guests of Decorah and Winneshiek County.
Volunteers will help serve visitors who call or stop by the Chamber and Visitors Center by answering questions regarding lodging, restaurants and attractions; giving directions and utilizing resources including the county visitor guide, reference guide, business brochures, websites and calendar of event listings.
The ideal volunteer is described as an enthusiastic person who is knowledgeable of popular tourism sites and is looking for a rewarding experience of sharing their passion and love for the area.
"This opportunity is not only fun and gratifying; it serves an incredibly important need for our county," said Brenda Luzum, Winneshiek County Convention and Visitors Bureau Director.
"Our office is experiencing a substantial increase of visitors," says Luzum.
"We have never experienced this volume of in-office traffic, phone calls and brochure requests than ever before."
It appears there are many factors involved in the visitor influx.
Luzum says the new Trout Run Trail, which opened just one year ago, is loaded from dawn to dusk with out-of-town visitors. She encourages locals to take a moment to look at the vehicles with bikes strapped to them and notice their license plates; they are visitors from all over the state and the Midwest. Local hotels report they are feeling the positive impacts of the bike trails too.
The popularity of the eagle's nest has not slowed down. Brian Malaise, fisheries biologist at the Decorah Fish Hatchery sites one example, "There was a couple from Hawaii who was debating where they should vacation: Paris, France or Decorah. They decided on Decorah specifically to see their beloved eagles."
"Malaise says the stories he hears similar to that are crazy," says Luzum.
There are also noted restaurants, attractions and a micro-brewery that have received honors, awards and mentions from reputable sources all very recently. In addition, there have been national media including Forbes Magazine, USA Today, Mother Earth News, MSN.com, Chicago Tribune and others recognizing the area as an incredible place to visit.
"Our reputation as a travel destination is growing stronger and stronger every week," says Luzum.
"Spend an hour at our office and you'll see what I mean."
The Chamber and Convention and Visitors Bureau hope to first expand the number of available volunteers to staff the Visitors Center on Saturday, which is regularly open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. From there, the organizations will experiment with additional Visitor Center hours possibly including Thursday and Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons.
"Many visitors to Decorah and Winneshiek County have their very first experience at our building; we'd like to greet as many visitors as possible with open doors and personal, friendly service," says Luzum.
A volunteer application form is available to anyone interested in serving as a tourism ambassador. Call 563-382-2023 or stop by the Chamber and Visitor's Center at 507 W. Water St. for more information.