Thursday, October 2, 2008
Tourism professionals gather in Georgia
I’ve just returned from Dahlonega, Ga., where I completed the second portion of a three-year professional development program that will lead to certification as a Tourism Marketing Professional (TMP).
I was one of 300 tourism professionals enrolled at the Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College held earlier last month. The week-long program turns the facilities of North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega, Ga., into a laboratory to teach tourism marketing each summer.
There is no other professional development program like the STS Marketing College, and it is recognized nationally for its training of tourism leaders. Only 418 people have earned TMP certification.
“In the tourism industry, TMP certification carries a lot of weight,” said Bill Hardman, president and CEO of the Southeast Tourism Society, a 12-state organization that promotes travel and tourism in the Southeast. The Society is headquartered in Atlanta, Ga.
The STS Marketing College began in 1992 to provide continuing education for tourism professionals. Tourism ranks as the first, second- or third-largest industry in each STS member state. Students come from convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, attractions, hotels and other segments of the tourism industry.
The curriculum covers topics such as family vacation research, special events marketing, media relations and creative advertising. Heritage tourism and community/rural tourism are courses that have attracted special interest in recent years.
Some of my favorite topics included branding, in which the instructor suggested a citywide branding campaign to create a cohesive image for the entire town of Holly Springs — an idea I would love to tackle in the future.
I also really enjoyed the statistics I received on international marketing. Who knew the People’s Republic of China was one of the world’s fastest growing travel groups? I was also very excited to learn that the international traveler is very interested in our country’s history and culture — both things Holly Springs is very rich in.
As with the year before, I gained even more knowledge and resources I was able to bring back to Holly Springs and look forward to implementing many new ideas in the coming year!
Tourism Traffic report
• We had a great turnout for the Hummingbird Migration Celebration and just beautiful weather! I, along with Amy Heaton of the Chamber of Commerce, helped Audubon staff welcome over 8,500 nature enthusiasts. We passed out information on the area as well as hand fans imprinted with a list of our upcoming events. Hopefully many of the guests will come back to enjoy our future events!
• Here at the tourism office we have welcomed 2,174 guests so far this year and have four upcoming group tours!
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