Dickenson County Tourism Director Surratt has completed a Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College program, which included course topics such as marketing, media relations, tourism advertising, vacation research, crisis management, branding and community/rural tourism.
Rita Surratt, Dickenson County tourism director and Dickenson County Chamber of Commerce president, has earned certification as a travel marketing professional after completing the three-year program of the Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College.
Surratt was one of 57 new TMPs recognized at the STS spring meeting in Lexington, Ky. STS Marketing College started in 1992, and 804 people have earned TMP certification.
The STS Marketing College is a professional development program that for one week each summer turns the facilities of University of North Georgia in Dahlonega, Ga., into a laboratory to teach tourism marketing.
Instructors are working professionals in the travel industry, such as convention and visitors bureau executives, public relations practitioners, sales and marketing consultants and research experts.
“There is not another program like ours in the country; we are the envy of travel professionals in other regions,” said Bill Hardman, STS president and chief executive officer.
Tourism ranks as the first, second or third-largest industry in the 12 STS states that stretch from Virginia to Louisiana.
Course topics include special events marketing, media relations, tourism advertising, vacation research, crisis management, branding and community/rural tourism. After the classroom work, students also must complete a project that relates to their employment.
“Our curriculum is practical. What students learn can be put to use as soon as they get back to their workplaces,” Hardman said.
The newest group of TMPs raised enough to fund eight scholarships for future STS Marketing College students.