Missouri Division of Tourism Joins Travel South USA

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Missouri becomes 12th member of regional tourism-marketing alliance.

The Missouri Division of Tourism announced today that it has joined Travel South USA, the largest and oldest regional tourism-marketing alliance in the country.

Missouri is the 12th member of Travel South USA, which in 2015 celebrates its 50th year of marketing member states as tourism destinations to both national and international audiences.

Other states included in the alliance are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

“Sports fans know Missouri competes with many of these states on the collegiate level, thanks to the University of Missouri-Columbia’s move to the Southeastern Conference (SEC),” says Katie Steele Danner, Missouri’s director of tourism. “We join Travel South not as competitors, but as partners working toward the shared goal of bringing more travelers to our region of America and showcasing Missouri’s history, heritage and culture, along with our unique, diverse and exciting attractions.

“Thanks to the support and encouragement of our Missouri Tourism Commission, participation in this outstanding marketing organization will create and add value for Missouri communities and provide a strong return on our investment.”

Missouri’s acceptance into Travel South USA is a somewhat historic move. Only two states have joined the organization since its inception nearly 50 years ago: Missouri in 2014 and West Virginia in 1998. Travel South USA was chartered in 1965 by the Southern Governor’s Association to support state tourism offices in member states.

“Travel South USA is delighted to welcome Missouri into the organization,” said Duane Parrish, Director, South Carolina Parks, Recreation and Tourism, and current Chairman of Travel South USA. “Our founding principles are focused on cooperation, and the opportunities that this collaborative group offers ensure each of the member states and their constituencies have better access to the marketplace, better access to travel media, and greater exposure both at home and abroad.”

As members of the organization, the Missouri Division of Tourism can expand its reach by leveraging the collective buying power of the group through advertising partnerships and co-ops that bring new and varied marketing opportunities to the Show-Me State.

Among those opportunities is Travel South’s annual International Showcase, which focuses on connecting suppliers with targeted international operators and receptive tour operators that feature southern product. In December 2014, more than 115 international operators from 14 countries will meet with suppliers to transact business deals which facilitate more international travelers visiting the south.

Travel South also produces Domestic Showcase, where organizations from member states have the opportunity to bolster their group tour and public relations efforts by connecting buyers, sellers and journalists through one-on-one appointments. Domestic Showcase will be held in Shreveport, Louisiana, in March 2015. The two Showcases are recognized as the best in the industry.

Representatives from Travel South USA had a kickoff meeting with Missouri Division of Tourism staff earlier this year and will share more information about the organization with members of the statewide tourism industry during the Missouri Governor’s Conference on Tourism, set for Oct. 7-9, in St. Louis.

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About the Missouri Division of Tourism
The Missouri Division of Tourism (MDT) is the official tourism office for the state of Missouri dedicated to marketing Missouri as a premier travel destination. Established in 1967, the Missouri Division of Tourism has worked hard to develop the tourism industry in Missouri to what it is today, a $14 billion industry supporting more than 285,000 jobs. For more information on Missouri tourism, go to http://www.VisitMO.com.

Travel South USA is America’s oldest and largest regional travel promotion organization, formed in 1965 by resolution presented at the Southern Governor’s Conference. The long-standing regional collaboration of the state tourism offices of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia provides a foundation to positively position tourism as a vital and dynamic element in the region’s economic development. Tourism ranks throughout the region as one of the top three industries, behind manufacturing and agriculture, and is responsible for $133 billion in spending by visitors, generating 1.4 million direct jobs, $30 billion in worker paychecks, and almost $16 billion in state and local taxes. For more information, visit http://www.TravelSouthUSA.com for consumer information and for travel industry information, http://www.TravelSouthUSA.org.

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