Welcome Center employees visit Troy, Brundidge, Pike County
Published 4:00 am Tuesday, November 17, 2015
For a group of state employees who probably say, “Welcome” in their sleep, it’s nice to be welcomed for change.
The employees at the Houston Welcome Center were in Troy Monday to learn more about what the area has to offer travelers. They received a genuine and heartfelt welcome from Troy Mayor Jason A. Reeves and Troy city officials.
In welcoming the Houston Welcome Center employees to Troy, Reeves shared how a first person account of an event brought greater understanding to his young son than an objective account of the same event.
“You get much more from something that you experience than from something you read about,” Reeves said. “The Houston Welcome Center on the Alabama-Florida state line has a lot of traffic. The first-hand experiences that the center employees have here will be invaluable as they share information about Troy and Pike County.”
Reeves expressed appreciation to Deborah Tillis, center director, and the other employees for the opportunity to showcase what Troy has to offer.
The Houston Welcome Center is closed for repairs and the employees are taking the opportunity to visit different areas of Southeast Alabama so they are better able to share information with those who visit the welcome center on U.S. Highway 231, said Debra Tillis, center manager.
In addition to Troy and Pike County, the center employees have visited Eufaula, Abbeville, Headland, Tuscaloosa and have plans to visit Montgomery.
“Now that we have visited these areas and have seen what they have to offer, we will be better prepared to make suggestions and offer recommendation and be better equipped to answer questions travelers might have,” Tillis said.
The Alabama Tourism Department has a Vacation Guide that is a good resource for travelers but Tillis said having first-hand knowledge of the different areas helps the employees better serve the public.
“The state has eight Welcome Centers and we probably see around six million visitors statewide each year,” Tillis said. “Our center stays quite busy.”
Tillis said the most inquiries directed to center employees are about music and craft beer and brewing and, or course, food.
“They always want us to recommend places to eat,” Tillis said, laughing.
Shelia Jackson, Troy tourism director, said it was exciting for Troy and Pike County to have been selected as places for the welcome center employees to visit.
“Any time people can actually experience Troy and Pike County, then that’s a win for us,” Jackson said. “The welcome center employees will now be able to tell travelers about what they saw and what they did, not just what they have read about. And, that makes a difference.
“They visited the square in Downtown Troy and the Johnson Center for the Arts. Then, we went to Camp Butter and Egg and they got to zip line and I’m sure that’s an experience they won’t forget.”
Jackson said the Welcome Center employees visited the We Piddle Around Theater in Brundidge and Adams Glass Studio on Highway 231.
“Deborah Tillis said they have brochures advertising ‘Come Home, It’s Suppertime’ at the Welcome Center and now they can tell visitors about the unique theater where it’s performed,” she said. “We are honored that the Houston Welcome Center employees chose to visit Troy and Pike County. We appreciate their interest and are excited that they will have first-hand knowledge to share with those who visit the welcome center.”