ATLANTA, Georgia – Southeast Tourism Society’s (STS) board of directors has voted to expand its current 12-state footprint by adding Missouri and the District of Columbia.

The Missouri Division of Tourism and Destination DC are the entities that will lead STS activity in the new locations.

STS, which has more than 1,200 members from more than 460 organizations, is a non-profit devoted to promotion and development of tourism throughout the Southeast. Tourism is a leading industry in each of its member states.

“This vote is historic. STS has grown in membership and territory through the years, and we look forward to welcoming Missouri and the District of Columbia. The expansion will be celebrated at our Connections conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, next February,” said STS President and CEO Monica Smith.

STS was formed in 1983 with seven states – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. It later added Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Virginia and West Virginia.

Smith explained that adding Missouri and the District of Columbia is strategic for STS and the Southeast.

“With West Virginia and Virginia as current members of STS, our next step was to add D.C. as a member region.   In addition, we host our STS Congressional Summit on Travel and Tourism in Washington each year, so it’s only natural to have Washington in the STS membership network. Missouri participates in Domestic Showcase, and beginning in 2021 STS will manage that major group tour event.  Therefore, we wanted Missouri to continue promoting its destinations at Domestic Showcase and for us to extend STS across the region,” Smith said.“This is great news as Destination DC can now work with STS and benefit from its education and advocacy programs from a strong regional organization,” said Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC, the official tourism marketing organization for Washington, D.C.  “I look forward to working even more closely with my counterparts in the Southeast.”

“We are excited about the opportunities joining Southeast Tourism Society will provide for our staff and the Missouri Tourism industry,” said Lori Simms, Deputy Director. “We in Missouri are ready to hit the ground running. We can’t wait to get started.”

STS identifies four areas of concentration – education, advocacy, recognition and networking – and is especially known for STS Marketing College, its continuing education program.