Cannon was one of 233 tourism professionals enrolled at the Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College last month. The week-long program turns the facilities of North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega into a laboratory to teach tourism marketing each summer.
There is no other professional development program like STS Marketing College, and it is recognized nationally for its training of tourism leaders. In twenty years, 600 travel professionals have completed TMP certification.
“In the tourism industry, TMP certification carries a lot of weight,” said Bill Hardman, president and CEO of the Southeast Tourism Society, a 12-state organization that promotes travel and tourism in the Southeast.
The STS Marketing College began in 1992 to provide continuing education for tourism professionals and feted its 21st anniversary this year. Tourism ranks as the first-, second- or third-largest industry in each STS member state. Students come from convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, attractions, hotels and other segments of the tourism industry.
The curriculum covers topics such as branding, social media, packaging and sports marketing. Heavy emphasis is placed on market research and its importance to tourism marketing. Twenty-three senior executives in the travel and tourism industry served as the faculty.
“Marketing college was an incredible learning experience and my new knowledge will completely change the way we do our campaigns and promotions in the future,” said Cannon. “Over the next year, look for some very unique promotions to come out of our office and recruit visitors on a whole new level.”
Cannon has been marketing Rome at the GRCVB since April of 2009. He began as an intern while attending a local college.
Cannon attended the marketing college thanks to a full tuition scholarship from the Georgia Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus, the trade organization for CVBs in Georgia.