our founder

Bill Hardman, Southeast Tourism Society Founder and President Emeritus Interviewed by Bob Short, February 4, 2013.  Billy Thompson Hardman, 87, the first pioneer in tourism for Georgia, the Southeast and the U.S., died October 18, 2013 in Gainesville, Georgia not far from his adopted hometown of Dahlonega (obituary).

Bill Hardman discusses his career as the director of tourism for the state of Georgia from 1959 to the early 1970s, including his office's attempts to improve Georgia's reputation among out-of-state travelers and to lure vacationers headed to Florida through efforts such as building welcome centers and improving major roadways. He also discusses efforts to promote Georgia tourism outside of the state through trade shows and at public events such as John Kennedy's inauguration parade and the Tournament of Roses Parade. Other topics include the Southeast Tourism Society and its annual Hoedown in Washington, D.C., the development of the World Congress Center in Atlanta, Six Flags, the impact of sports on Atlanta tourism, and changes to the tourism industry in the twentieth century. From the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies. More information, see more at this link: http://russelldoc.galib.uga.edu/russell/view?docId=ead/RBRL220ROGP.146-ead.xml