TUNICA, Miss. — More than 225 members and guests gathered in Tunica for the Southeast Tourism Society (STS) spring meeting March 19-21. This marketing organization for the southeastern states places a premium on educational programming; thus, national speakers and marketing seminars were plentiful over the course of the three days.
A gala evening event hosted by the Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Mississippi Tourism Division at the recently reopened Tunica RiverPark was the social highlight of the gathering. A beautiful evening on the river was enhanced by a Mississippi blues band and superb cuisine that included gumbo, barbecue, fried catfish, greens, salads and desserts.
“Tunica and the state of Mississippi demonstrated clearly the meaning of Southern hospitality for our group,” said STS president and CEO Bill Hardman. “The evening event at the Tunica RiverPark was exceptional, and it was gratifying that more than 20 of our attendees had volunteered earlier that day to help build a new picnic pavilion there — after [the damage from] the devastating flood of last spring.”
The highlight of the educational sessions offered at the meeting was a personal address to the group by Jim Evans, president and CEO for Brand USA, the travel industry’s new marketing organization for U.S. inbound tourism.
“Jim Evans really drove home to our group the importance of inbound tourism to our communities,” said Hardman. “His message was clear that at every level of our industry, we must be engaged in this effort to recapture market share in the international travel arena and inspire foreign travelers to come enjoy America.”
Almost 40 STS Marketing College graduates crossed the stage during a luncheon to accept their diplomas for attaining the organization’s well-known TMP designation. Weeklong educational sessions during three summers are required to successfully attain the TMP designation.
Mac Lacy, president and publisher of The Group Travel Leader Inc. and Pioneer Publishing Inc., attended the conference to promote two special sections done this spring in association with STS. They appeared in Bank Travel Management and Small Market Meetings magazines.
For more information about STS, visit www.southeasttourism.org.
For more information about advertising in the STS special sections or other special sections, contact Stacey Bowman or Kelly Tyner toll-free at 888-253-0455.