ATLANTA, Ga. (June 2012) - Monica Smith, President & CEO of the Macon-Bibb County Convention & Visitors Bureau (MBCCVB) has been chosen for the first class of "Forty for the Future: Travel's Leading Talent."

The Southeast Tourism Society (STS), an Atlanta-based professional association in the tourism industry, organized the recognition.

Those chosen, most of whom were nominated by their employers or professional mentors, range from the tourism director in the north Georgia town of Dahlonega and the marketing and communications manager at the National Corvette Museum in Kentucky to the president of the visitors bureau in Fort Bragg, Calif., and a partnership marketing specialist for the Virginia Tourism Corp.

All are younger than 40, and they represent businesses and organizations in 14 states.

"All of them have demonstrated leadership in their careers and communities and are beacons for others," said Bill Hardman, president and CEO of the Southeast Tourism Society.

STS will recognize the Forty for the Future Class of 2012 during a special presentation at the STS Fall Forum in Virginia Beach, Va., Oct. 31-Nov. 2.

"Our objectives with ‘Forty for the Future' are to recognize leadership, demonstrate how varied tourism jobs are and inspire even younger people to consider tourism as a career," Hardman said.

A panel of tenured professionals representing numerous components of the tourism industry evaluated the nominees.

"We wish we could have recognized even more, but this group lives up to the program's name. They truly are ‘Forty for the Future,' and we expect even bigger accomplishments and leadership from them," Hardman said.

Out of the forty tourism professionals selected by STS, Monica Smith is one of six chosen from Georgia.

Founded in 1983, the Southeast Tourism Society is dedicated to the promotion and development of tourism in its member states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Its headquarters are in Atlanta. The membership includes state travel offices, attractions, hotels, motels, resorts, convention and visitors bureaus, chambers of commerce, travel media and other travel-related organizations.