ATLANTA -- Travel
South USA, based here, has a huge announcement in store at its
annual Showcase to be held Feb. 12 to 16 at the Memphis Cook County
Convention Center in Memphis, said Liz Bittner, executive director
of the 12-state travel marketing alliance.
will herald the organizations plan to widen its reach among
international travelers, according to Bittner.
Travel South USA had exercised extensive international marketing in
the past, with sales representatives in Brazil, Japan and the U.K.,
but is shifting focus ... to go after other countries in the
Another shift is
toward promoting regional itineraries among member
itineraries that focus on the South, not just on a particular
state, Bittner said. The next phase is to cross from state to
state, to blend borders. The consumer doesnt focus on one state vs.
is promoting six regional, themed itineraries: Arts, Crafts &
Culture; Education and Ecotourism; Food/Wine and Shopping; History
& Heritage; Natural & Scenic Beauty; and Sports, Adventure
Travel South USA
includes the tourism offices of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida,
Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South
Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
Another change in
this years event is in the name itself. Known for some 10 years as
the Travel South Marketplace, this years event will be called the
Travel South Showcase, the name used in the late 1980s and early
The change from
Travel South Marketplace to Travel South Showcase symbolizes not
only the revitalization of the Showcase name but also the
revitalization of the program, Bittner said.
planned for an anticipated 650 suppliers and buyers include an
evening at Graceland, a celebration of Travel South USAs 40th
birthday, eight Memphis city tours and eight multistate fam trip
options. For more information, call
(404) 231-1790, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.travelsouthusa.com.
The following is
a sampling of whats happening in member states:
Eighteenth-century English Ceramics from the Catherine H.
Collins Collection, one of the largest collections of its kind in
the Southeast, is being shown for the first time at the Birmingham
Museum of Art through Feb. 6. Admission is free.
Birmingham native who died in 1998, began collecting ceramics as a
girl, amassing more than 350 pieces from more than 20 factories.
The collection will be integrated into the museums reinstallation
of the English Galleries, scheduled for the summer.
The museum is
open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays
from noon to 5 p.m. Contact: (205) 254-2565; www.artsbma.org.
The $165 million
William J. Clinton Presidential Center opened Nov. 18 in downtown
Little Rock. Speakers included Clinton, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton
(D-N.Y.), President George W. Bush and former presidents George
H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter.
With the opening,
Little Rock Tours has begun offering a daily two-hour sightseeing
tour that includes the Capitol where President Clinton served as
attorney general and governor; Little Rock Central High School
National Historic Site; and the Rose Law Firm, where Hillary
Clinton once worked. Prices are $25 for adults, $21 for seniors and
$10 for ages 6 to 12.
Two other tours
are available on a group-request basis (15-person minimum). The
Presidential Tour, which includes the former presidents birthplace
in Hope and a lunch, costs $69 per person. The Hot Springs Tour is
$44 per person and includes Clintons boyhood home there. Contact:
(501) TOUR-BUS; www.littlerocktours.com.
Feb. 25 to 27
will mark the fourth annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival in
the South Beach section of Miami Beach. Celebrity chefs will cook
up extravagant meals at some of the areas finest restaurants
(series of a dozen dinners at various locations, $300 to
winemakers, the event will present a food, wine and spirits
sampling in tents set up on Miami Beach for the Festivals Grand
Tasting ($100 in advance, $125 at the door, Feb. 26 and 27, 11 a.m.
to 6 p.m., Ocean Drive and 12th Street). Contact: (866) 333-SOBE;
www.sobewineandfoodfest.com. Special airline rates are
available from American Airlines (Starfile: A9025Ai).
The Jimmy Carter
Presidential Library & Museum in Atlanta is hosting After 9/11:
Messages From the World and Images of Ground Zero, an exhibit meant
to preserve the messages of condolence that poured into the U.S.
It will be on
display through Jan. 2. Museum
admission is $7 for adults; $5 for seniors (60 and over), military
and students with IDs; and free for age 16 and under. Contact:
(404) 865-7100; www.jimmycarterlibrary.org.
to spend nearly $700 million on tourism infrastructure projects,
according to officials there. Other projects include the Louisville
Marriott Downtown, a 620-room convention center headquarters hotel,
opening in April, and an expanded and renovated Kentucky Fair &
Exposition Center, to be ready in November.
Opening in March
is the Kentucky Center for African-American Heritage, and in
November, the Muhammad Ali Center, whose mission is to inspire
children and adults to find the greatness within themselves. Visit
RiverBarge Excursions is offering a cruise that encompasses three
Delta South: New
Orleans to Memphis along the Mississippi River, departs March 16 to
23. The excursion on board the River Explorer begins with an
overnight stay in New Orleans, then stops in Baton Rouge and in
Natchez, Miss., in time for the latters annual Spring Pilgrimage,
before moving on to Vicksburg, Miss., home to Vicksburg National
Memphis is the
final destination, where guests can experience Beale Street. The
all-inclusive price ranges from $2,245 to $2,545 per person,
double. Contact: (888) 462-2743; www.riverbarge.com.
Gulf Coast houses 12 casino-resorts and year-round historical and
cultural attractions. Now plans are under way to expand the
offerings and the airport that serves as a gateway to the
Gulfport-Biloxi Airport is increasing its terminal size from 92,000
square feet to 165,000 square feet. The $56 million expansion will
be completed by 2006.
multimillion-dollar space park attraction, Infinity at NASA Stennis
Space Center, is in the works at the Hancock County facility 48
miles west of Biloxi. It will feature simulators, including one
that re-creates the test firing of a space shuttle
The $20 million
Ohr-OKeefe Museum complex will open in 2005. George Ohr, the Mad
Potter of Biloxi who died in 1918, is just now gaining recognition
for his original, abstract works. Some of his pottery, which he
called his mud babies, are drawing in excess of $20,000 from
to expand. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino broke ground in
February and is scheduled to open in the summer of 2005. The $235
million resort will feature a 306-room hotel, 50,000 square feet of
gaming space, a pool, a spa, a nightclub, a Hard Rock Live club and
a buffet, steakhouse, grill and bakery.
The Isle of
Capris is expanding its Biloxi property; Beau Rivage is building a
golf course (opening spring 2006) and will be remodeling its guest
rooms throughout 2005; and a $7.5 million family water park is
coming to Gulfport in the spring.
and the School of Paris: Masterpieces from the Baltimore Museum of
Art is the latest in a series of national touring exhibitions
showing at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh.
Many of the works
selected rarely travel, and most have never before visited the
Southeast, according to museum director Lawrence Wheeler. The
exhibition, which continues through Jan. 16, features 35 paintings,
sculptures and drawings by the two artists. Other artists featured
include Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne, Bonnard, Monet, Rodin and
For tickets, call
Ticketmaster at (919) 834-4000. For more information, visit www.ncartmuseum.org. Hours are 9 a.m to 5 p.m.,
Wednesdays to Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays. Museum
admission is free.
Annual Festival of Houses and Gardens will take place March 17 to
April 16. The festival features tours of 150 historical private
houses and strolls through private gardens in 10 colonial and
Tickets are $45.
Recommended as a prelude to these tours is the two-hour, guided
Charleston History Walking Tour around the Old and Historic
District, offered daily during the festival (except Sundays) at
9:30 a.m. Tickets are $15.
A new offering
this year will be a series of light lunch lectures with a walking
tour. Tickets are $45. Many events sell out in advance. Tickets can
be ordered by phone at (843) 723-1623 or online at www.historiccharleston.org.
35,000-square-foot theater and exhibition building featuring a new
museum gallery opened at Jamestown Settlement, a museum devoted to
17th-century Virginia. The building is
the third phase of a visitor services and gallery complex that will
be completed by 2007, the 400th anniversary of the founding in
Virginia of Americas first permanent English colony.
Settlement is located southwest of Williamsburg, adjacent to
Historic James- towne. It is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily year-round
and until 6 p.m. June 15 through Aug. 15. Admission is $11.25 for
adults and $5.50 for children ages 6 through 12.
ticket is available with the Yorktown Victory Center, a museum of
the American Revolution. A Colonial-era Christmas will be the focus
of tours and exhibits from Dec. 18 to 31.Contact: (888) 593-4682;
A record 24.5
million visitors came to the state in 2003, a 7.8% increase over
2002. There were 10.5 million overnight stays. The Clarion Hotel & Conference Center of Historic
Shepherdstown is offering a package to attract overnight leisure
travelers that includes luxury accommodations, onsite dining with a
$50 coupon toward dinner plus two drinks at rates that begin at
$127 a night through April.
876-7000; www.clarionshepherdstown.com. Guests of the Clarion
Hotel can visit Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, the Charles
Town Races and Slots and the Old Opera House in Charles
Destinations Editor Margaret Myre, send e-mail to [email protected].