Q: Just what is the Southeast Tourism Society?
A: It's a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of tourism throughout the Southeast.
Q: What states does it cover?
A: It was founded in 1983 with eight member states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia and Arkansas joined later.
Q: How many members are there?
A: Membership is approaching 800 organizations who represent a wide range of travel-related businesses.
Q: What types of businesses and organizations belong?
A: The list is long. Among them are:
Q: What are the primary areas of interest for STS?
- Convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce and tourism authorities
- State tourism departments
- Tourism attractions
- Hotels, resorts and other lodging businesses
- Tour companies
- Parks (national, state and local)
- Travel media
- Transportation companies
- Fairs, festivals and special events
- Colleges and universities
A: Cooperative marketing, professional development, networking and legislative advocacy.
Q: What's an example of a cooperative marketing program?
A: The most notable is an extensive program of special advertising sections available exclusively to STS members. Numerous media outlets that reach the traveling public are STS members, and many of them develop advertising opportunities for STS members. STS members often save multiples of their annual society dues by participating in a single co-op advertising program.
Q: What are examples of professional development opportunities?
A: STS meets every spring and fall, and every meeting has a professional development component featuring top-flight tourism experts, workshops and presentations. In addition, STS conducts the STS Marketing College every summer. This is a one-week intensive course of study that explores many facets of the travel industry and tourism development. There is a three-summer curriculum that leads to certification as a Travel Marketing Professional (TMP).
Q: How does STS deal with advocacy?
A: The very active Southeast Tourism Policy Council is an important part of STS. It develops a legislative agenda, monitors federal legislation and keeps STS members informed about important policy issue that affect tourism. STPC is known and respected in Washington, and members have been called on for congressional testimony.
Q: What is the STS Top 20 Events program?
A: STS developed this program to recognize successful festivals and special events across the Southeast. Independent judges evaluate nominations to identify 20 events across the region each month. Selection as an STS Top 20 Event is a validation of an event's quality and a distinction that events use effectively in their ongoing marketing and publicity.
A short history
On September 14, 1983, a small group of travel & tourism industry leaders from the Southeast gathered to organize a new, non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of tourism throughout the region. Those charter members shared a mutual belief that regional promotion through partnership between states would create a powerful marketing alliance unparalleled throughout our country. Joining to make this dream a reality, they created STS.
A quarter century later, their vision has been validated as the Southeast Tourism Society has established itself as a leader among other travel organizations nationwide. STS members recognize the vast number of attractions, sporting events, history, scenic and cultural beauty found within the Southeast and work together uniting the strengths and resources of the region.