Southeast Tourism Society steps up membership drive


he Southeast Tourism Society aims to boost membership by 24% this year.

Bill Hardman, president and chief executive officer, said the group has expanded its efforts to increase its 500-member roster by 120.

"The focus is not on any particular state, but rather to create a better balance among the membership categories," Hardman said.

These categories include attractions, hotels, convention and visitor bureaus, festival organizers, chambers of commerce and resorts.

In addition, he said, the group is focused on summer travel.

"We are very optimistic on travel this summer. All the indicators are there," he said.

"First of all, we continue to offer value for dollar, and we can be optimistic because, in general, in this region, the gas prices are less than in other parts of the country."

The society holds several industry events each year. Its annual fall meeting is set for September in Charlotte, N.C.

Two other major annual events are its Canadian Sales Mission and the Congress Summit on Travel and Tourism.

"The Congress Summit is always in March, and for two days, our members are in Washington to learn of legislative issues and congressional activity that have an impact on the travel industry," Hardman added.

STS markets and promotes travel from within the U.S. and Canada to 11 states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

For more information, call STS at (404) 364-9847; fax (404) 262-9518.

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