Thursday, August 13, 2009
Tourism director nears completion of certification
After three years of specialized summer classes, Stephanie Movre, executive director of the Holly Springs Tourism and Recreation Bureau, is nearing certification as a tourism marketing professional (TMP).
Movre has two speaking projects to complete to earn TMP certification from the Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College. Her third year of classes was earlier this month at North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega.
“I was one of 285 tourism professionals enrolled at the Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College earlier this month,” Movre said. “The week-long program turns the facilities of the Dahlonega, Ga., campus into a laboratory to teach tourism marketing each summer. It’s a very intense program I’m excited to have completed. It is always a great networking opportunity and I always come back with so many new ideas and contacts. I can’t wait to receive my degree in the spring.”
There is no other professional development program like the STS Marketing College, and it is recognized nationally for its training of tourism leaders. Currently, 474 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 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.
“The fundamental concept of STS Marketing College is that the curriculum is practical. What students learn can be put to practice as soon as they get back to their workplaces,” Hardman said.
Twenty-five senior executives in the travel and tourism industry were the volunteer faculty.
The marketing college attracts students from throughout the Southeast and occasionally from other states. This year’s program included students from Texas and Arizona.
“The Southeast Tourism Society is recognized nationwide for the cohesiveness and camaraderie it fosters in the region. No other region has a similar organization. Our marketing college is a major project to build skills and professionalism in the tourism industry,” Hardman said.
The 12 STS states are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. STS headquarters are in Atlanta, Georgia.
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