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Mary Kay Vrba Appointed Director of
Dutchess (NY) County, Tourism
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March 20, 2006 - Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Anne Conroy announces Mary Kay Vrba has been named the director of Dutchess County Tourism (DCT), effective immediately. She has been serving as the interim director of tourism since the December retirement of Karen Woods. 

Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus said, “The tourism industry is an intricate network of private businesses, non-profit historic sites and arts venues, county government, parks, farms and other attractions, small and large. I am confident in Mary Kay’s ability to bring together all those who provide hospitality, recreation and entertainment to our visitors. Her hard work and extensive knowledge of tourism-related businesses and of our region ensure that tourism will remain a vital sector of the Dutchess County economy.”

Mary Kay served as assistant director of tourism from 1994 to the present, helping the DCT director with all aspects of the agency. 

Previously, she was the director of tourism for the Hudson River Valley Association, and a partner in Crossroads International Management. Prior to these responsibilities, Mary Kay was Dutchess County’s commissioner of parks, recreation, and conservation. 

Anne Conroy said, “I am delighted that Mary Kay will continue the very important work she has begun here. The competition for leisure dollars is tight, and we are counting on her innovative ideas and boundless energy to guide tourism businesses to increased success. She envisions new initiatives and knows how to bring people together to make them work. She inspires both our leadership and staff to do their best to identify creative ways to increase the number of visitors to our wonderful county. There is no substitute for her combination of creatively and hard work.”

Along with her staff, Mary Kay will initiate tourism roundtable discussions in April, visiting businesses countywide to brainstorm and create new packages. She will produce a travel expo expressly for leisure travelers, “Destination Dutchess and Beyond!”, set for May 9 at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel. She was instrumental in developing, coordinating and administering major conferences such as a recent Agricultural and Culinary Product Development conference with The Culinary Institute of America, and a heritage tourism conference. She has been a presenter at in-county workshops and seminars sponsored by DCT.  She researched grant opportunities and wrote applications. 

Tourism has a significant economic impact in Dutchess County, with more than 3.6 million people visiting annually and spending an average of $406 million on lodging, food, shopping, and area attractions. Tourism is New York’s second largest industry. In 2004, more than 55 million travelers from all over the United States and the world visited New York State and spent $35.7 billion while here.

She holds an MS degree from George Williams College and a BA from the College of St. Mary. The National Tour Foundation awarded her full Certified Tourism Planner accreditation in 1991. She is a member of the Travel Industry of America, the National Tour Association, and the American Bus Association.

She resides in Pleasant Valley, where you might see her cycling or running along the scenic back roads. 

Dutchess County Tourism was founded in 1984 under the umbrella of the Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation, both of which receive funding support from the County of Dutchess.

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Contact:

 Dutchess County Tourism
3 Neptune Rd., Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Nancy Arena
845/463-5446
nancy@dutchesstourism.com
 

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Also See: Hawaii, Illinois, and Pennsylvania Have Biggest Budgets for travel and tourism promotion; TIA Ranks All the States / June 2005

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