Regional travel media event puts the spotlight on Huntsville

Rocket City hosts 3rd annual Southern Travelers Explore conference





February 18, 2022



(Huntsville, AL) – The Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) frequently hosts both conventions and travel media events, but sometimes the opportunity comes along to blend the two into one – which is exactly how next weekend’s Southern Travelers Explore conference can be described. From February 25-27, 50 travel media representatives will converge in Huntsville for the 3rd annual Southern Travelers Explore (STE) conference, a regional Southern conference for those working in a wide variety of media, including writers, social media content creators, videographers, photographers, and others.


The STE conference, described by organizers Melody Pittman and Taylor Hardy as “an educational vacation with a true Southern experience,” brings bloggers, journalists, CVBs, and destination marketing organizations (DMOs) from across the country together for a weekend of educational sessions, small group discussions, and a marketplace, while enjoying all that the host city has to offer. Pittman and Hardy are also the mother-daughter duo behind the Travel the South Bloggers website, an online travel collective highlighting destinations across the southern United States. Previous STE host cities include Thomasville, GA, and Tupelo, MS.


"We are so excited to introduce travel writers and tourism professionals from around the country to Huntsville during our 3rd #STE conference,” said Pittman. “Huntsville is a cutting-edge city with a foot in the past and future like no other. We cannot wait for our attendees to learn the future of space exploration and see Huntsville's vibrant history, as well as introduce them to unique, repurposed venues like Campus No. 805 and Stovehouse. We knew the Huntsville CVB would be fantastic partners in showcasing their city's impressive achievements while also extending Southern hospitality to our attendees."


Hosting STE is a real win for the selected destinations, shining a spotlight on all that the city has to offer to leisure travelers. Conference-goers will take their experiences with Huntsville’s restaurants, museums, attractions, and more and use those ventures as content to publish on their respective mediums, many of which individually garner viewers or readers by the thousands.


It’s not just major attractions that stand to benefit from all the STE hype, however. Conference attendees like to immerse themselves in the local culture as much as possible, and that means visiting mom and pop shops, craft breweries, restaurants, and other small businesses that are uniquely Huntsville and Madison County.


“There’s no doubt that the phenomenal growth Huntsville has seen over the past five, ten, years has positioned us to host high-visibility events like Southern Travelers Explore,” said Judy Ryals, President/CEO of the Huntsville/Madison County CVB. “There are more options than ever for visitors to choose from, and just as Huntsville gains national attention as a top city to live and work, our reputation as a top travel destination continues to rise as well. We look forward to amplifying our community’s story through this conference and plan for many more events like this in the future.”


Conference activities will take place across the Rocket City, including an opening reception at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and a Saturday evening dining experience at Campus No. 805 and Stovehouse. The 106 Jefferson Hotel is the official host hotel for the event, serving as the primary lodging location for the majority of attendees as well as the meeting space for the event’s educational sessions and networking activities. Attendees will break out into small groups on Saturday afternoon for local tours, covering specific interests like history, art, science and nature, music, and craft beer.


Those interested in joining the STE Huntsville social media buzz can do so by using the hashtags #STEHuntsville and #iHeartHsv.


To learn more, contact Kristen Pepper, Director of Marketing for the CVB at 256-551-2294 or






About Huntsville/Madison County CVB


The Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is a non-profit 501(c)(6) organization which was developed in 1970 to create economic growth for Huntsville/Madison County by marketing the community as a top-of-mind convention and visitor destination. As the official city/county agency which promotes the area as a tourist destination and convention site, the CVB works with an array of hospitality industry partners to market our destination to visitors of all types.