Southeast Tourism Policy Council
An organization that represents tourism interests in 12 Southeastern states speaks with a unified voice on matters of legislation, public policy and the future of the travel industry.
The Southeast Tourism Policy Council (STPC) now is the advocacy voice for the Southeast Tourism Society (STS), which is headquartered in Atlanta and whose states stretch from West Virginia to Florida to Louisiana.
"Tourism ranks first, second or third as the largest industry in every state in the Southeast. Representing that industry to governmental leaders, particularly in Congress, is the fundamental mission of the policy council," said Bill Hardman Jr., president and CEO of the Southeast Tourism Society.
Additional missions of the STPC are to encourage partnerships between the public and private sectors of the tourism industry and to be an advocate for tourism's sustainable economic growth in an environmentally responsible way.
Among the initial issues of interest to the STPC are:
Federal funding to market the United States as a destination for international travelers.
Federal highway funding
Informational surveys of international visitors to provide basic research that can guide individual states' marketing efforts.
A long-term fee demonstration program for all federal land agencies such as the National Park Service, the USDA Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.
The roots of the STPC are in the prior governmental affairs efforts of the Southeast Tourism Society and the first-ever State-Federal Tourism Summit that STS organized in 2002.
Less than two years after the State-Federal Tourism Summit, the STPC demonstrated its commitment by establishing formal relationships with five department of the federal government-Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Army and Transportation-plus the Environmental Protection Agency and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
That occurred Feb. 24, 2004, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the STPC and the various federal offices. The signing ceremony was at the Department of the Interior. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton observed that all of the signatories were "strong advocates with common goals in support of public lands and the economic viability of tourism."
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