ASHEBORO - Amber Williams, tourism coordinator with the Heart of North Carolina Visitors Bureau has completed the second portion of a three-year professional development program that will lead to certification as a Tourism Marketing Professional (TMP).

Williams was one of 285 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, Georgia, into a laboratory to teach tourism marketing each summer.

There is no other professional development program like the STS Marketing College, and it is recognized nationally for its training of tourism leaders. To date, 474 people have earned TMP certification.

The STS Marketing College began in 1992 to provide continuing education for tourism professionals.  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 family vacation research, special events marketing, media relations and creative advertising.  Heritage tourism and rural tourism are courses that have attracted special interest in recent years.

The Heart of North Carolina Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization for Randolph County Tourism Development Authority, representing Archdale, Asheboro, Franklinville, Liberty, Ramseur, Randleman, Seagrove, Staley, and Trinity. For additional information, call (336) 626-0364 or go to