Skip to site content
Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader

STS Domestic Showcase Lights Up Little Rock

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas Travel and tourism professionals came to Little Rock, Arkansas, March 20–23, for the 2024 Southeast Tourism Society (STS) Domestic Showcase. Downtown Little Rock’s Statehouse Convention Center hosted the event, which was attended by 346 delegates, including travel journalists, public relations professionals, DMO sales and marketing staff, and tour operators.

“One of the things we were excited by was this was the first time we’ve ever had Domestic Showcase with STS and the host region and state of our chair,” said Monica Smith, president of STS. “We were really excited about the fact that not only did we have the support of Little Rock and Arkansas Tourism, but we also had the support of their team.”

Domestic Showcase’s opening reception was held at the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, where delegates enjoyed comfort food and a lively band, then perused the museum’s exhibits related to the Clinton presidency and Clinton’s life and legacy.

At marketplace sessions, which occurred on March 21 and 22, industry buyers and suppliers met to network and plan trips. There was also a concurrent media marketplace, where journalists and travel writers met with PR professionals representing destinations to network and exchange ideas.

Buyers and suppliers got to explore Little Rock on several familiarization tours, with stops at its museums and other attractions. Stops included the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center; Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site; the city’s breweries and distilleries; and the newly re-opened Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, which recently underwent a $150-plus million, four-year renovation.

Educational breakfasts were held on both days before marketplace sessions began. The Group Travel Leader’s vice president and executive editor, Brian Jewell, spoke at the first educational breakfast about transformational travel. Stephanie Stuckey, CEO and owner of Stuckey’s Corporation and granddaughter of the founder of the Stuckey’s roadside stop, spoke at the educational breakfast the following day about rebuilding her family’s iconic brand.

“I was really excited too to hear Stephanie and Brian,” Smith said. “We had rave reviews. What we try to accomplish is for people to walk away from the breakfast educational sessions to think about what they can do differently and look at how they’re connecting with travelers, journalists and group tours.”

Following marketplace on March 21, The Group Travel Leader hosted an evening event in conjunction with co-sponsors Heaven Hill Distillery, Jim Beam Country and the Kentucky Department of Tourism. The event, Dueling Keys at Willy D’s, held at Willy D’s Rock and Roll Piano Bar, was attended by over 100 delegates who enjoyed music, cocktails and light bites.

“We were pleased with the success of The Group Travel Leader’s event and how many people went,” Smith said. “It looked like it was a great time had by many folks.”

The closing reception was held at the recently renovated Robinson Center, just blocks from the convention center.