ATLANTA, GA (May 9, 2018) – Seventy-nine people are newly certified as Travel Marketing Professionals after completing a three-year continuing education program of Southeast Tourism Society.

STS Marketing College has now provided profession-level travel and tourism education for 1,092 people throughout the association’s 12-state footprint.

More than half of the 2017 STS Marketing College class received their certificates at the inaugural STS Connections conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The Class of 2017 had graduates from all 12 STS states, plus one from Manhattan, Kansas.

STS Marketing College uses facilities at the University of North Georgia at Dahlonega to teach travel marketing for a week each summer. The continuing education program began in 1992.

Registration is open for the 2018 session, which is June 24-29. STS membership is not required, but STS members receive a tuition reduction.

Instructors are travel industry professionals such as convention and visitors bureau executives, public relations practitioners, sales and marketing consultants, and research experts.

“There is no other program like ours in the country, and we take great pride providing this level of continuing education. We are enhancing the professionalism of the tourism industry in the Southeast every day,” said Bill Hardman, STS president and chief executive officer.

Tourism ranks among the top three industries in all STS states, which stretch from Virginia to Louisiana.

Study topics include special events marketing, media relations, tourism advertising, vacation research, crisis management, heritage tourism and community/rural tourism. In addition to classroom work, students also must complete a project that relates to their employment.

“Our curriculum is practical. After each year, the knowledge students gain can be put to immediate use in their workplaces,” Hardman said.

About Southeast Tourism Society (STS)

Founded in 1983, Southeast Tourism Society ( promotes and develops tourism in its 12 member states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Its headquarters are in Atlanta. Membership includes state travel offices, convention and visitors bureaus, lodging properties, attractions, travel media and other travel-related organizations.