On September 14, 1983, a small group of industry leaders from the Southeast gathered for the purpose of organizing the Southeast Tourism Society (STS). Those charter members shared the mutual belief that regional promotion of tourism, via a partnership between states, would create a powerful marketing alliance unparalleled throughout our country. More than thirty years later, their vision continues as STS has established itself as a leader among travel organizations.
Dedicated to improving the economic vitality of the Southeast by uniting all segments of the Travel and Tourism Industry; promoting tourism within our member states, fostering cooperation, sharing resources and providing continuing education.
To create, maintain and promote a cohesive membership organization responsive to the development of travel and tourism professionals and organizations within the southeast United States of America.
FAQs About STS
Q: What is the Southeast Tourism Society?
A: A non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of tourism throughout the Southeast United States.
Q: What defines the southeast region?
A: It is comprised of twelve states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia
Q: What types of businesses and organizations belong?
A: Travel and Tourism for Consumers (B2C) and Industry-Related Service Providers (B2B)
Q: What are the primary areas of interest for STS?
A: Our Four Pillars include: Education, Advocacy, Recognition and Networking (EARN)
Q: What are examples of professional development opportunities?
A: STS hosts an annual conference, Connections, complete with educational sessions, networking events, industry trade show, award ceremony, and the STS Marketing College graduation luncheon. In addition, STS conducts its annual STS Marketing College in the summer. This is a highly-lauded, one-week intensive course of study that explores many facets of the travel and tourism industry. Marketing College is a three-year curriculum that leads to certification as a Travel Marketing Professional (TMP). In 2010 a Festivals and Events program was also added to the curriculum. Each year STS hosts the Congressional Summit on Travel and Tourism in Washington, D.C., where attendees have an opportunity to learn more about important legislation that can impact our industry and meetings are held with our elected officials.
Q: How does STS work within advocacy?
A: Advocacy is an important part of Southeast Tourism Society. We develop an annual legislative agenda, produce useful guides (The Federal Directory & Tourism Works!/Tourism Success Stories), monitor federal legislation and keep members informed about important policy issues that impact tourism. STS is known and respected in Washington and has been called on for congressional testimony.
Q: What is the STS Top 20 Festivals & Events Award Program?
A: In 1985, STS, in recognition of the unique, diverse and unparalleled events in the region, began the Top 20 Events award program. A Top 20 Award seeks to bring more publicity and recognition to the best events in the Southeast, whether it be media, attendees or both! STS selects the Top 20 events, per month, and publishes them on a quarterly basis.
Q: What is the STS Shining Example Award Program?
A: Recognizing outstanding contributions in tourism in the Southeast United States, the Shining Example Awards Program, an industry fixture since 1985, is comprised of 15 awards within 13 categories; 11 of these categories are open for nomination. The Awards highlight some of the best work in travel and tourism, and winners truly set examples that others in the industry can follow. These are awarded annually at STS Connections and are open to STS members and non-members.
Meet The Team!
The President & CEO of STS was born in Athens, Georgia (Go Dawgs!) and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Bill joined STS in 1997, upon his father’s retirement as President & CEO of STS. What does he enjoy most about his role with STS? “I particularly enjoy being an advocate for tourism and addressing policy issues at the national level that are important to the wellbeing and vitality of our communities around the southeast.” As for vacations, they are all the more enticing to Bill with a promise of “a relaxing environment where there are no schedules, time is not important, the food is great and the climate is warm.” Aside from the obvious love of family, the next would be SEC College Football. “I am an avid Georgia Bulldog fan and enjoy being in Athens, between the hedges, on any fall Saturday afternoon.” Speaking of family, Bill is married to Carol, “the most wonderful woman in the world”. They currently reside in Roswell, Georgia and have three children. Bryan (Amelia); Chris (Lily) and Jenny (Michael);. And, if you really want to see his face light-up, ask about his grandchildren…Lee, Katie Wilkes, Olive, Brooks, and Everleigh; the next generation of tourism and travel.
Angela Suzanne Erlhoff Moon, otherwise known as “Suzanne” or “Mama Moon”, is a Southern Girl, tried and true. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Suzanne joined the STS staff in 1992. Her role with STS includes a variety of responsibilities: Finances, Meeting Planning, Office Manager, Dorm Mom to STS Marketing College attendees. If you ask her what she enjoys most about her role at STS she will tell you, “I love, love, love everything and anything that has to do with Marketing College. I also enjoy building relationships with the hotel staff during our annual conferences.” Her ideal vacation includes the bare necessities: food, alcohol and her hubby. “I'll go anywhere as long as there is running water.” Suzanne and her husband, Tim, reside in beautiful Norcross, Georgia where they are a house divided. As in, during football season, you can catch her cheering on her beloved Auburn Tigers while Tim has all eyes on the Alabama Crimson Tide. Go Tigers!
Born and raised in western Illinois (Not Chicago) Wendy has been calling the south her home since 2003 and joined the STS Team as a staff member in 2015. Her role at STS has her working on a variety of projects, including marketing materials, social media, monthly newsletters, website communication, STS Top 20 and Shining Example Award programs as well as the Festivals & Events curriculum for Marketing College. “I’m such a fan of this industry. I think the people are incredible. Many of them truly exude southern hospitality which makes it all the more apparent they chose the right career path. STS has given me such unique opportunities to see parts of the Southeast that my cornfield-country-girl-self may have never otherwise experienced.” Ideal Vacation = Peace and quiet. “Give me a body of water, a decent sunset, the ability to sleep-in, and I’m set.” Wendy currently resides in Sandy Springs, Georgia and enjoys hosting her family and friends needing to escape the frigid temps of the north. During football season, you can catch her enjoying all the games and cheering for the underdog. (Consider her Switzerland when it comes to the SEC vs. ACC).
Heather is the most recent addition to the STS family. In her role she works with STS corporate partners and sponsors to develop unique programming in addition to managing the educational content of our annual conference. Prior to joining STS, Heather was the Executive Director of Johns Creek CVB, a North Atlanta suburb. Most recently Heather served as a Research Analyst, with Gray Research Solutions, out of Nashville, Tennessee. What she enjoys about her current role at STS is meeting STS members and hearing directly from them about their successes and hurdles which gives her insight for future STS programs. Her ideal vacation consists of traveling to areas she has not yet visited. After living in and/or visiting much of the Southeast, a top three still-to-visit list includes Greece, Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Canyon. As far as the Southeast, she appreciates its accessibility. “I can go to the beach in the morning and by afternoon I can be in the mountains. I also love the history and cultural diversity that can only be experienced here.” Heather currently resides in Duluth, Georgia with her husband, Jim. A graduate of Johnson and Wales University, this culinary creative can often be found in the kitchen whipping up something sweet or savory that her STS peers are always happy to taste test!