Department of Tourism
Federal-State Cooperation to Be Focus of Tourism Summit
Thoughtful cooperation and the long-term health of travel destinations are the central topics of an event that will involve about 250 private sector tourism leaders and federal agency personnel just outside the nation's capital Sept. 6-8.
The event is the Federal State Tourism Summit 2006 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va. The summit is organized by Southeast Tourism Society (STS), a tourism marketing and education association headquartered in Atlanta. STS covers 11 states stretching from Virginia to Louisiana, including Kentucky.
Randy Fiveash, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Tourism and a member of the STS Board of Directors, will represent the commonwealth at the conference.
"This summit is a timely opportunity to hear state and national leaders discuss the tough issues facing our industry and help create a road map for the future," Fiveash said.
Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine is the keynote speaker at the opening luncheon Sept. 6. Other speakers include U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, Rep. Jim Oberstar (Minn.), ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Lynn Scarlett, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The summit mirrors a precedent-setting event in Louisville, Ky., in 2002 that led to a Memorandum of Understanding between STS and a variety of federal departments and agencies. Summit programs will focus on transportation, development of tourism products, resource stewardship and marketing.
"It's somewhat amazing that the public and private sectors don't know each other all that well, especially because enlightened people in both sectors have the same goals -- having people enjoy America's destinations while simultaneously protecting those destinations for future generations," said Bill Hardman, president and CEO of STS.
The travel and tourism industry ranks as the first-, second- or third-largest industry in every Southeastern state. The Southeast Tourism Society, founded in 1983, promotes travel to its member states. 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. Its Web site is www.southeasttourism.org.