National Park Service Partners With Southeast Tourism Society

Ranger Speak to Group of Park Visitors
A park ranger speaks with a group of visitors at a scenic overlook
July 27, 2020 - Washington, DC

The National Park Service and the Southeast Tourism Society have solidified their partnership with the signing of a new general agreement, pledging to work together to manage tourism to parks, affiliated areas, and communities in a sustainable manner compatible with resource conservation, economic resilience, and community livability. Tourism plays a vital role in communities across the southeast, providing economic benefits while celebrating and supporting the conservation of culture, heritage, and the environment. Parks, public lands, and affiliated sites are key drivers of tourism for many communities, and proactive collaboration among park managers, community leaders, and the private sector is important for balancing tourism and visitation with conservation and resource protection.

"We appreciate the long-standing relationship with the National Park Service and their ongoing commitment to promote programs and initiatives that reflect that natural, cultural, and historic heritage of the nation, while also providing recreation and tourism resources," said Monica Smith, President and CEO of STS. "I look forward to many more years of working closely with the NPS to provide more resources and education on sustainable tourism in the Southeast region."

Donald Leadbetter, Tourism Program Manager for the National Park Service, noted, “It’s wonderful having a strong, regional tourism partner to work with in the southeast, providing a nexus point for tourism, cultural heritage, and conservation issues. Our partnership with the Southeast Tourism Society provides a forum to further the collaborative management of sustainable tourism to parks, public lands and waters, and communities.”

The new general agreement establishes a foundation for both organizations, along with STS members, to engage in a variety of activities to support tourism and conservation. These may include participation in forums, meetings, conventions, and seminars; training, learning, and development programs; collaborative research, promotion, and public engagement; and special events and commemorations, such as the US Semiquincentennial. The agreement also affirms both organizations’ commitment to sustainable and responsible tourism.

The Southeast Tourism Society is a not-for-profit membership association that works to elevate the talents and strategies of travel and tourism organizations and individual professionals within its thirteen-state region. STS’ mission is to strengthen the economic vitality of the region by uniting all segments of the travel and tourism industry through the four pillars of education, advocacy, recognition, and networking. Member states include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, plus the District of Columbia.

The National Park Service is responsible for the management of the 419 units of the national park system, many of which are located in STS member states. The National Park Service works with a wide variety of partner organizations to manage affiliated sites such as national heritage areas and national trails and also implements several designation programs that recognize cultural and natural heritage, including the National Register of Historic Places, the National Natural Landmarks Program, and the African American Civil Rights Network.

Part of a series of articles titled Tourism Stories.

Last updated: July 27, 2020