Tourism marketing college

Published 5:40 pm Friday, July 13, 2018

Harlan Tourism Director Brandon Pennington recently participated in the Southeast Tourism Society’s Annual Marketing College.

According to a press release, Pennington attended the event along with approximately 300 tourism industry professionals from across the country.

“Marketing College is one of the most intensive marketing programs for tourism professionals in the southeastern United States,” Pennington said. “Once you complete three years of the program, you become a certified tourism marketing professional, which is one of the highest accolades you can receive in tourism through Southeast Tourism Society.”

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Pennington recently wrapped up his second year in the program.

The release states STS Marketing College is a one week per year professional development program which transforms the facilities at University of North Georgia (UNG) in Dahlonega, Georgia into specialized classrooms to teach travel marketing.

Pennington explained some of the things the program covered.

“The program itself focuses on a lot of different trends that are up and coming throughout the industry,” Pennington said. “They present you with all those trends and how…you can take those trends and use them to your advantage.”

Pennington said he believes networking between tourism professionals is one of the most useful aspects of the program.

“A lot of times we feel like we’re kind of isolated in issues and obstacles that we have to overcome,” Pennington said. “As we began to network, we see there are a lot of similar issues we all have to face.”

The release states the program began in 1992 with more than 1,000 travel and tourism professionals completing the full program.

“Tourism is one of the leaders in job creation and has a positive economic impact on its communities,” said Bill Hardman, president and chief executive officer of STS. “At the same time, tourism is ever-evolving, and thus STS Marketing College was created as way to keep travel and tourism professionals ahead of industry trends.”

Course topics include digital marketing, media relations, customer service, tourism advertising, vacation research and crisis management.

“Our curriculum is practical and evolves with the attendee. Whether you’ve been in the industry for 30 days or 30 years, everyone walks away with new ideas and best practices for their destination,” Hardman said. “The knowledge gained at STS Marketing College can truly be applied anywhere. We have more than 1,000 graduates, throughout the United States, that can confirm the positive impact this program had on their career, in addition to their destination, as well as the friendships made.”