ATLANTA, Ga. (August 21, 2008)-Hundreds of tourism industry professionals will gather in Little Rock, Arkansas at The Peabody Little Rock hotel for the Southeast Tourism Society's (STS) annual Fall meeting, Sept. 5-7. This years' meeting also celebrates the 25th anniversary of the organization, an award ceremony and also a voluntourism project.
The expected 200 attendees will be exposed to the theme of the "The Great Outdoors" which will include topics such as "Creating Excitement in the Southeast with Recreation and Tourism" paneled by Derrick Crandall of the American Recreation Coalition and "Trends, Fads & Rumors" by Dr. Stephen Morse, University of Tennessee. A panel discussion titled "Are you going into the Red to stay Green?" will also be held exploring the hot topic of green tourism.
Other speakers include:
+ "Rollin' RV Revenue" by Dottie Maitland
+ Climate Change and Tourism with Ken McGill, Global Insight
The Shining Example awards ceremony & dinner will be held on Wednesday evening, Sept. 5th, recognizing exceptional achievements in tourism & travel in the Southeast in nine varied categories. The 25th anniversary ceremony will feature past and present board members sharing their favorite STS memories.
"Voluntourism" combines travel and volunteering at the visited destination. This year's project is estimated to have about 50 individuals assisting at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. The volunteers will mainly help with groundwork such as landscaping Wednesday, Sept. 5th.
This year's theme is "The Great Outdoors" meant to highlight the plethora of outdoor activities. Attendees can participate in activities such as a half day tour of Heifer Ranch and play golf at the Resbamen Golf Course.
Arkansas recently joined STS in 2007 and this will be the first time an STS event will be held in Arkansas. "It was a natural next step for us to look toward Arkansas as the next state. The addition of Arkansas as the 12th state fit well in the geographic footprint. Arkansas is known as the "Natural State", offering an outstanding recreational product. Overall, recreation in the Southeast is huge," said Southeast Tourism Society's president & chief executive officer Bill Hardman.
"We're anticipating all kinds of effects following the fall meeting. Recognition as a full-fledged member of STS will be a big plus, and we'll have a great chance to get better acquainted with conference participants from all the southeastern states. In addition, I expect representatives from several tourism-related associations to attend the event and perhaps even join STS as a result," said Arkansas state travel director, Joe David Rice.
About the Southeast Tourism Society (STS)
Founded in 1983, Southeast Tourism Society (www.southeasttourism.org
) is dedicated to the promotion and development of tourism in its member states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Its headquarters are based in Atlanta. The membership includes state travel offices, attractions, hotels, motels, resorts, convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, travel media and other travel-related organization.