For additional information, contact:
Suzanne Moon, Southeast Tourism Society

Eric Zartler Earns ‘Travel Marketing Professional' Certification 
from Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College

Three-year program recognized nationally for continuing education

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 7, 2014)-Eric Zartler, acting sales director of the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau, earned certification as a "Travel Marketing Professional" (TMP) after completing the three-year program of the Southeast Tourism Society (STS) Marketing College.

Zartler 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 North Georgia College and State University 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.

"This is not another program like ours in the country; we are the envy of travel professionals in other regions," said Bill Hardman, president and chief executive officer of STS.

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, heritage tourism and community/rural tourism. After the classroom work, students also must complete a project that relates to their employment.

"The bureau strongly believes in investing in our employees' professional development and I am proud of Eric's commitment to the program. He has been able to bring new promotional ideas to the table through this experience and he has demonstrated leadership qualities through being voted President of his marketing college class," said Shelley Johnson, executive director.

The newest group of TMPs raised enough to fund nine scholarships for future STS Marketing College students.

About Southeast Tourism Society (STS)
Founded in 1983, the Southeast Tourism Society ( promotes and develops tourism in its 12 member states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Its headquarters are in Atlanta. The membership includes state travel offices, attractions, hotels, motels, resorts, convention and visitors bureaus, airlines, car rental agencies, newspapers, magazines and other travel-related organizations.