Black Meetings and Tourism

September / October 2022

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B M & T ••• September/October 2022 ••• 16 When Chantel Ross Francois became Executive Director of the South Fulton Convention and Visitors Bureau in April 2022, she brought decades of industry experience and an international background to the job. As the top tourism promoter for South Fulton, a city about 20 miles from Atlanta, she is responsible for the management and oversight of the bureau's daily operations, local and national marketing and public relations programs, convention sales and services strategies, and visitors' centers. Francois is a native of Canada and of Caribbean decent. She arrived in the United States about 30 years ago to work at the Canadian Consulate in Atlanta, in the A CONVERSATION WITH CHANTEL ROSS FRANCO S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE SOUTH FULTON CVB BY SONYA STINSON Department of External Affairs. When the consulate downsized, she moved on to the Office of External Affairs at the Metro Atlanta Transit Authority (MARTA). Francois later held posts at the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Douglasville (Georgia) Convention & Visitors Bureau. She also helped with the start up of the destina- tion marketing organization of the city of East Point, Georgia. Before becom- ing Executive Director of the South Fulton CVB, she was the city's Tourism Manager. During her time at MARTA, Francois founded the Metro Atlanta Caribbean Chamber of Commerce Inc. (MACCC). MARTA, Air Jamaica and Sheraton Atlanta Hotels were founding partners of the organization that worked closely with Delta Airlines and Tourism Boards throughout the Caribbean. "The Metro Atlanta Caribbean Chamber of Commerce serves as a con- duit and gateway for Caribbean busi- nesses in metro Atlanta," says Francois, who adds that the organization also fos- ters business and economic relations between Atlanta and Caribbean nations with a focus on Tourism. Francois is a Georgia Certified Travel Consultant and an active mem- ber of Meeting Professionals Interna- tional, the International Congress and Convention Association and the International Air Transport Associat- ion, in which she's an accredited meet- ing planner. Francois proudly points out that South Fulton – a young, diverse city with about 100,000 residents – was the first in Georgia to recognize Juneteenth as a paid holiday. Its best-known attrac- tions are the South Fulton Arts Center, the Wolf Creek Amphitheater, the Wolf Creek Golf Course and the U.S. Tennis I

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