Our History

On September 14, 1983, a small group of industry leaders from the Southeast gathered for the purpose of organizing the Southeast Tourism Society (STS). Those charter members shared the mutual belief that regional promotion of tourism, via a partnership between states, would create a powerful marketing alliance unparalleled throughout our country. More than 35 years later, their vision continues as STS has established itself as a leader among travel organizations.

Our Mission

Dedicated to improving the economic vitality of the Southeast by uniting all segments of the Travel and Tourism Industry; promoting tourism within our member states, fostering cooperation, sharing resources and providing continuing education.

Our Vision

To create, maintain and promote a cohesive membership organization responsive to the development of travel and tourism professionals and organizations within the southeast United States of America.

Our Code of Ethics

The STS Code of Ethics is established to help guide members in their relationships to one another and in their relationships with staff, boards, suppliers, community and other stakeholders in the travel and tourism industry. Read it here


FAQs About STS

Q: What is the Southeast Tourism Society?
A: A non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of tourism throughout the Southeast United States.

Q: What defines the southeast region?
A: It is comprised of twelve states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia

Q: What types of businesses and organizations belong?
A: Travel and Tourism for Consumers (B2C) and Industry-Related Service Providers (B2B)

Q: What are the primary areas of interest for STS?
A: Our Four Pillars include: Education, Advocacy, Recognition and Networking (EARN)

Q: What are examples of professional development opportunities?
A: STS hosts an annual conference, Connections, complete with educational sessions, networking events, industry trade show, award ceremony, and the STS Marketing College graduation luncheon.  In addition, STS conducts its annual STS Marketing College in the summer. This is a highly-lauded, one-week intensive course of study that explores many facets of the travel and tourism industry. Marketing College is a three-year curriculum that leads to certification as a Travel Marketing Professional (TMP). In 2010 a Festivals and Events program was also added to the curriculum.  Each year STS hosts the Congressional Summit on Travel and Tourism in Washington, D.C., where attendees have an opportunity to learn more about important legislation that can impact our industry and meetings are held with our elected officials.

Q: How does STS work within advocacy?
A: Advocacy is an important part of Southeast Tourism Society. We develop an annual legislative agenda, produce useful guides (The Federal Directory & Tourism Works!/Tourism Success Stories), monitor federal legislation and keep members informed about important policy issues that impact tourism. STS is known and respected in Washington and has been called on for congressional testimony.

Q: What is the STS Top 20 Festivals & Events Award Program?
A: In 1985, STS, in recognition of the unique, diverse and unparalleled events in the region, began the Top 20 Events award program. A Top 20 Award seeks to bring more publicity and recognition to the best events in the Southeast, whether it be media, attendees or both! STS selects the Top 20 events, per month, and publishes them on a quarterly basis.

Q: What is the STS Shining Example Award Program?
A: Recognizing outstanding contributions in tourism in the Southeast United States, the Shining Example Awards Program, an industry fixture since 1985, is comprised of 15 awards within 13 categories; 11 of these categories are open for nomination. The Awards highlight some of the best work in travel and tourism, and winners truly set examples that others in the industry can follow. These are awarded annually at STS Connections and are open to STS members and non-members.


Monica Smithe, CEO of Southeast Tourism Society

Meet the Team!

MONICA SMITH
PRESIDENT & CEO

Monica Smith serves as the President and CEO of Southeast Tourism Society (STS) and has over 26 years of experience in the hospitality and tourism industry. Prior to joining the staff of STS, she served on its Board of Directors while she was the Vice President of Sales and Services for Visit Jacksonville (Florida), the city’s tourism sales and marketing organization, and while she was President & CEO of Macon-Bibb County Convention and Visitors Bureau in Macon, GA., for 6 years. Her other destination sales and marketing experience includes positions with the Pasadena CVB in Pasadena, CA, the Newport Beach CVB in Newport Beach, CA, and Destination Cleveland in Cleveland, OH. Monica is a graduate of Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration and has been actively involved in the university's CAAAN alumni admissions outreach. She has a passion for developing the next generation of tourism leaders and educating communities on the importance of tourism as an economic and community development strategy.

Suzanne Moon, Vice President of Operations for Southeast Tourism Society

SUZANNE MOON
VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS

Angela Suzanne Erlhoff Moon, otherwise known as “Suzanne” or “Mama Moon”, is a Southern Girl, tried and true. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Suzanne joined the STS staff in 1992. Her role with STS includes a variety of responsibilities: Finances, Meeting Planning, Office Manager, Dorm Mom to STS Marketing College attendees. If you ask her what she enjoys most about her role at STS she will tell you, “I love, love, love everything and anything that has to do with Marketing College. I also enjoy building relationships with the hotel staff during our annual conferences.” Her ideal vacation includes the bare necessities: food, alcohol and her hubby. “I'll go anywhere as long as there is running water.” Suzanne and her husband, Tim, reside in beautiful Norcross, Georgia where they are a house divided. As in, during football season, you can catch her cheering on her beloved Auburn Tigers while Tim has all eyes on the Alabama Crimson Tide. Go Tigers!

Wendy Thomas, Director of Marketing and Communications for Southeast Tourism Society

WENDY THOMAS
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS

Born and raised in western Illinois (Not Chicago) Wendy has been calling the south her home since 2003 and joined the STS Team as a staff member in 2015. Her role at STS has her working on a variety of projects, including marketing materials, social media, monthly newsletters, website communication, STS Top 20 and Shining Example Award programs as well as the Festivals & Events curriculum for Marketing College. “I’m such a fan of this industry. I think the people are incredible. Many of them truly exude southern hospitality which makes it all the more apparent they chose the right career path. STS has given me such unique opportunities to see parts of the Southeast that my cornfield-country-girl-self may have never otherwise experienced.” Ideal Vacation = Peace and quiet. “Give me a body of water, a decent sunset, the ability to sleep-in, and I’m set.” Wendy currently resides in Sandy Springs, Georgia and enjoys hosting her family and friends needing to escape the frigid temps of the north. During football season, you can catch her enjoying all the games and cheering for the underdog. (Consider her Switzerland when it comes to the SEC vs. ACC).



Veronica Frazier, Director of Member Development for Southeast Tourism Society

Veronica Frazier
Director of member development

Veronica Frazier, Director of Member Development

 
 
Tonja Ray-Smith, Administrative Assistant at Southeast Tourism Society

TONJA RAY-SMITH
ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

With more than 15 years of tourism experience, Tonja is the most recent addition to the STS family. Prior to STS, this Mississippi native and STS Marketing College graduate served as Executive Director for Grenada Tourism Commission, Yazoo County CVB, and Greenwood CVB. At STS, Tonja works directly with STS’s President & CEO and is the first point of contact for STS members that may have particular questions pertaining to their membership, registration or account updates. When asked about her current role Tonja said “I love everything there is about tourism, but I have an even greater love for STS. I am honored to be a part of the organization that has invested so much into my career.” When it comes to her ideal vacation you will find her on an island, along with her two children: Myka & Trelyn, and an endless supply of food and music. Tonja currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia and attended Mississippi State University. In her free time, you will find her amid festivals, food, family, and music. Speaking of music, be sure to ask about the harmonica she carries with her.

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