Congrats to Courtney Spiess, Executive Director of Marietta Visitors Bureau in Georgia. She’s one of nine winners in the second annual Emerging Tourism Stars program in partnership with MMGY Global.
Readers will meet more of the winners in upcoming issues of The Travel Vertical and they’ll be recognized in person during the 23rd Annual eTourism Summit on June 6-8, 2022 in Orlando.
What’s an Emerging Tourism Star? Savvy individuals (of any age!) in destination marketing and attractions that are new to the eTourism Community of digital travel and tourism professionals or have risen to the challenges of a role.
- Winners will be directly connected with a travel and tourism leader as a mentor
- Winners receive a scholarship to attend eTourism Summit
- Winners will participate in a panel conversation at eTourism Summit moderated by MMGY Global
- One winner will fill the eTS Emerging Tourism Star Advisory Board Seat (an annual appointment)
Q: What are some of the advantages of promoting a smaller community as a destination?
We are able to promote the whole City of Marietta as a unique destination to visit versus a larger community promoting different areas and neighborhoods. This creates partnerships within our community and tourism partners. Visitors often leave surprised over the fact that there is so much collaboration and local support.
Q: And what do you consider to be the main obstacles?
One of the main obstacles in promoting a smaller community like Marietta is overcoming the stereotypes that people associate with small towns. These could be that we are stuck in the past, not easily accessible, and that there are a lack of attractions. We love proving people wrong!
Q: If you could add one staff position to your DMO team tomorrow, what would that position be?
I would love for us to post an Events and Special Projects Manager position. This position would plan and coordinate the execution, operation, and promotion of our signature events throughout the year. In addition to the events responsibilities, the manager would also work closely with tourism partners and community on special projects. As a smaller community, our DMO works very closely with the City of Marietta to promote events.
Q: How did you first come to Marietta as a resident and come to love promoting it?
I moved to Marietta in January 2018 to start my job as Marketing and PR Coordinator. Throughout the years I’ve made personal connections with tourism partners, community leaders, and tourists. I love introducing visitors to my personal connections as it always adds to their experiences. Playing a small role in helping others make memories in Marietta is so special!
Q: Name three things you’d want people to know about Marietta, Georgia.
- Marietta is a hotspot for the film industry! Some movies and tv shows include: Hidden Figures, Selma, Haunting of Hill House, MacGyver, and Dumplin’.
- The Big Chicken resides in Marietta! This 56-foot beloved landmark is home to a KFC restaurant. Locals love to use it to give directions when driving and it has played a role in aviation as Dobbins Air Reserve Base pilots use it as a landmark, as well.
- Art is as strong as history in Marietta! Murals and other public art can be found throughout the Marietta Square area.
Q: What do you hope to gain by attending eTourism Summit in Orlando this June?
I’m excited to hear new ideas and learn about what other destinations are doing to promote tourism! I’m also looking forward to gaining new connections as we all celebrate the industry.
Meet Frank Filice: 2022 Emerging Tourism Star From Sonoma County Tourism, California
Meet Kathryn Shea Duncan: 2022 Emerging Tourism Star From Visit Lake Charles, Louisiana