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Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

August 3rd, 2020

Dutchess Tourism Inc. Names Colleen Dorney Director of Outreach & Operations

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – Dutchess Tourism, Inc. (DTI) promoted Colleen Dorney to Director of Outreach & Operations.

Dorney will be responsible for spearheading DTI’s efforts to serve its local, tourism business partners through the coordination of the organization’s annual awards celebrating industry excellence, and its series of Lunch and Learn webinars on important marketing and hospitality topics. She will also develop and implement a new tourism partner website that will serve as a resource to partners and elected leaders, providing essential information to ensure the local industry remains a vital piece of Dutchess County’s economy. Furthermore, Dorney will work collaboratively with tourism related businesses to manage special initiatives such as DTI’s Great Estates Pass, agritourism promotion and an ongoing effort to improve the accessibility of the destination.

In her position as Manager of Operations, Dorney was instrumental in securing a $10,000 grant from New York State’s Workforce Development Institute (WDI). The grant will support the development and publication of an informational booklet to educate all people, including those looking to change careers, on career pathways in the hospitality sector. An initiative of the DTI Board of Directors’ workforce subcommittee, of which Dorney is the staff liaison, the piece aims to encourage growth in the labor pool and meet the needs of many hotels, restaurants, and attractions. In her new role, she will be responsible for developing and implementing additional fundraising strategies, including grant writing, and securing sponsorships.

In partnership with DTI’s President & CEO, Dorney will maintain compliance with the rigorous standards of the globally recognized Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International, an industry accreditation that puts DTI in an elite group of just over 200 destination marketing organizations.

An important economic engine for Dutchess County and the Hudson Valley Region, local film production is facilitated and promoted by Dorney. She manages requests by the industry and maintains a location and photo database for use in fulfilling those requests, in addition to administering the official Film Dutchess webpage and social media presence.

Additionally, she is the manager of DTI’s Simpleview Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, which tracks the organization’s outcomes, pushes data to the organization’s highly trafficked website, and more. In 2019, Dorney was selected to be part of an important group of Simpleview clients called the Destination Management System (DMS) User Group, entrusted among other tourism professionals to provide feedback that is taken into consideration when improving their products.

“Colleen brings tremendous knowledge and expertise to this position with a proven track record managing our office operations, connecting with our partners and providing exceptional hospitality to all looking for information about our destination,” said Dutchess Tourism President & CEO Melaine Rottkamp. “By consistently going above and beyond to support the strategic initiatives of our organization, Colleen has been invaluable to our growth. I am excited to work with her in this new, expanded role where she will be able to affect an even greater positive impact during these challenging times.”

Dorney joined the staff of DTI in November 2016, bringing with her two years of not-for-profit experience as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with positions at Hearts and Hands in Buffalo, NY and Connecticut Campus Compact in West Hartford, CT. She holds B.A. in History from Loyola University Maryland and completed her Master of Public Administration in May 2019 at Marist College.

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About Dutchess Tourism

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is a 501c6 non-profit organization that works to bring tourism dollars to area businesses and our community by marketing and promoting the assets of Dutchess County to the nation and the world. The office is located at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 17 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County. The website is DutchessTourism.com and they can be reached at 845-463-4000. Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is partially funded by monies received from the County of Dutchess.

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Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

June 16th, 2020

7th Annual Dutchess Tourism Awards of Distinction Winners Announced on YouTube Premier Watch Party

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY– Dutchess Tourism, Inc. (DTI) announced the winners of the 2020 Dutchess Tourism Awards of Distinction, Tuesday, June 16th at a live watch party attended by nearly 100 on YouTube Premiere. Three finalists in each of eight categories were highlighted for demonstrating industry excellence, with remarks from Dutchess Tourism President & CEO Mary Kay Vrba and Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro.

Winners in each category (in bold) received hand-crafted awards made by Hudson Beach Glass to display at their businesses, and were delivered a special, locally-sourced breakfast catered by Simply Gourmet including maple syrup donated by Soukup Farms:

The Dutchess County Executive’s Award for Overall Distinction

Winner: Dutchess County Fairgrounds

Finalists include: Hudson Valley Renegades, Mid-Hudson Children's Museum

 

Accessible Hospitality Award of Distinction

Winner: Julie's Jungle at Lime Kiln Park

Finalists include: Egg Hunts for All at Tymor Park, Roosevelt & Lyceum Cinemas

 

Arts Award of Distinction

Winner: MJN - Majed J. Nesheiwat Convention Center

Finalists include: Bridge Music, Jazz in the Valley

 

Culinary Award of Distinction

Winner: Farmers & Chefs

Finalists include: Harlem Valley Homestead, Sunflour Bakery

 

Family Entertainment Award of Distinction

Winner: Four Brothers Drive-in Theater

Finalists include: Greig Farm, Sinterklaas!

 

History Award of Distinction

Winner: The Elmendorph Inn/Historic Red Hook

Finalists include: Dutchess County Historic Tavern Trail, Mount Gulian Historic Site

 

Hospitality Service Award of Distinction

Winner: Djan Paunovic, Terrapin Restaurant & Catering

Finalists include: Tom Bauer, Hospitality Volunteer & Adam Pregno, Marriott International

 

Outdoors Award of Distinction

Winner: Beatrix Farrand Garden Association

Finalists include: Innisfree Garden, Mountain Tops Outfitters

 

“I’m so glad we were able to virtually celebrate these great destinations and partners that help to truly tell the story of Dutchess County,” said Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro. “These are challenging times, but when the community is back on its feet and local businesses’ doors open I know that Dutchess County will continue to set the example in tourism, reflecting the rich history and diversity that makes our story unique.”

“Each of our finalists makes Dutchess County a premier destination for travelers. These small businesses provide exceptional offerings to the community and contribute to A Storied Experience for our visitors,” said Mary Kay Vrba, President and CEO of Dutchess Tourism. “No industry has been hurt more during this pandemic than tourism, but we are resilient. Rest assured - once we get the green light, we are prepared to aggressively market travel to Dutchess County and reinvigorate our economy by inviting visitors to experience the small businesses and attractions like today’s finalists that make our destination so dynamic.”

The awards video can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6q5UrnCcEg

Dutchess Tourism appreciates Harney & Sons Fine Teas’ donation of tea bags, mailed to each pre-registered watch party attendee.

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About Dutchess Tourism

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is a 501c6 non-profit organization that works to bring tourism dollars to area businesses and our community by marketing and promoting the assets of Dutchess County to the nation and the world. The office is located at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 17 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County. The website is DutchessTourism.com and they can be reached at 845-463-4000. Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is partially funded by monies received from the County of Dutchess.

 

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Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

June 9th, 2020

Dutchess Tourism Releases Discover Dutchess Destination Guide

As Mid-Hudson Region Enters Phase 2 of Reopening, Visitors and Locals Are Encouraged to use this New Resource for Planning Future Trips and Staycations

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY– Dutchess Tourism, Inc. (DTI) announced today the publication of its Discover Dutchess Destination Guide. The publication is organized in a fresh format, focusing on the unique personalities of each community, and offering visitors four distinct destinations in one.

Magazine-like in its layout, Northern, Central, Southern and Eastern Dutchess are featured with eight-page spreads describing the assets that make each a premier vacation spot on their own. Each section begins with a new community map highlighting over 25 points of interest including those that are “must see” and those labeled a “hidden gem;” residents will enjoy the “local favorites.” Subsequent pages narrate these places to visit plus many others, enticing each reader to experience a plethora of historical sites, scenic outdoor locations, artistic and cultural attractions, shopping picks, restaurants, tasting rooms, farms and more.

County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “Dutchess Tourism’s new destination guide highlights the many attractions, historic sites, and local businesses that need our help now more than ever as we work to rekindle our local economy following the COVID-19 pandemic. Dutchess County remains a premier destination and as we continue our Restarting Dutchess efforts, we encourage everyone to consider all we have to offer when planning your next visit. We are grateful to the team at Dutchess Tourism for their dedication in showcasing the many safe ways visitors and residents alike can enjoy and support our region.”

As always, the guide also lists annual events by month, lodging sites by town or city, transportation options for every traveler, Tourism Information Centers and more. Those who want to learn more about the county’s offerings are encouraged to visit dutchesstourism.com for fresh blog posts, an up-to-date event calendar, videos, virtual reality tours and suggested itineraries. The Guide and Dutchess Tourism’s website are also tools for locals to help plan staycations this summer or entice family and friends to visit.

DTI President & CEO Mary Kay Vrba said, “Although the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected our local tourism industry, I believe wholeheartedly in our resiliency. As we enter each phase of reopening in the Mid-Hudson Region, our top priority is the safety, health, and wellbeing of our community, its residents, and visitors. I encourage potential visitors and residents alike to utilize this Guide for planning future trips and safe outings. We invite you to enjoy A Storied Experience in Dutchess County.”

Produced in partnership with Luminary Media, the Guide will be distributed at DTI’s 17 Tourist Information Centers throughout the county, as well as at New York State Thruway Information Centers, trade shows, travel agents and tour operator mailings. Guides will also be sent by request to chambers of commerce, business organizations, AAA Clubs and individuals responding to ads, articles and social media posts.

View the digital version of the Discover Dutchess Destination Guide online here or access a downloadable PDF.

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About Chronogram Media

Founded in 1993, Chronogram Media is a local media company that serves as a regional thought-leader, publishing content and producing events that engage our community through our brands—Chronogram, Upstate House, Upstater, Explore the Hudson Valley, Rural Intelligence, and The River Newsroom. Headquartered in Kingston, NY, Chronogram Media publishes content viewed by over 2.5 million readers throughout the Hudson Valley, Berkshires, and the tri-state area. Chronogram Media, Inc.’s mission is to inform in new and compelling ways, and create beautiful, visually interesting content that offer new perspectives.

About Dutchess Tourism

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is an independent 501c6 non-profit organization that works to bring tourism dollars to area businesses by marketing and promoting the assets of Dutchess County to the nation and the world. The office is located at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 17 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County. The website is www.DutchessTourism.com and they can be reached at 845-463-4000. Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is partially funded by monies received from the County of Dutchess.

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Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

May 27th, 2020

Dutchess Tourism Announces New President & CEO

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY– Dutchess Tourism, Inc. (DTI) announced that Vice President Melaine Rottkamp will succeed Mary Kay Vrba as the non-profit’s new president and CEO, effective July 21, 2020. The DTI Board of Directors unanimously chose Rottkamp after conducting an extensive transition and search process in accordance with the organization’s succession plan.

Rottkamp has filled many roles since joining Dutchess Tourism more than eight years ago including that of office manager, as the director of special events, outreach and administration, and most recently as vice president. In her current role, she manages DTI’s branding, advertising and marketing efforts. She also leads the organization’s many business support and education programs including National Travel & Tourism Week activities, the annual Dutchess Tourism Awards of Distinction, the long-running Lunch & Learn Seminar Series, the Hudson Valley Tourism Trends Conference, and the Hudson Valley Film Industry Conference.

Her achievements at DTI are many, including advocating for tourism-related businesses and the local film industry, spearheading efforts to strengthen agritourism in our community, and developing collateral to communicate the important economic impact of tourism and valuable role DTI plays as the destination’s brand manager. She was extensively involved in the organization’s transition to an independent 501(c)6 non-profit, as well as the rigorous process to earn accreditation through Destination International’s Destination Marketing Accreditation Program, becoming one of less than 200 destination marketing organizations world-wide to meet its 92 standards.

Last summer, she earned the tourism industry’s highest educational achievement by becoming a Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) through Destinations International. The CDME program is the only integrated executive program specifically designed for destination management professionals. Its focus is to prepare industry leaders to leverage their experience and apply their knowledge with a focus on vision, leadership, productivity and implementation of business strategies.

Rottkamp is a graduate of Syracuse University where she earned a dual degree in public relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and political science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs.

“I have had the great privilege of working hand-in-hand with Mary Kay and learning from her nearly 40 years of experience in tourism,” said Rottkamp. “I am honored and deeply humbled to be entrusted with the continued growth and success of Dutchess Tourism, Inc.” She added, “I am committed to doing all I can to help our community get through the crisis created by COVID-19, and excited to continue to work with our staff and board of directors to support this industry I care so much about and the people whose livelihoods depend upon its prosperity.”

“For years, our many partners have benefited from Melaine’s expertise, enthusiasm and guidance, and the local industry is in great hands moving forward,” said Vrba. “Instrumental in our destination’s achievement of many milestones, Melaine is equipped with the knowledge and experience needed to serve our tourism business community in these difficult times and beyond. I congratulate Melaine on her well-deserved promotion and wish her all my best as the new leader of Dutchess Tourism, Inc.”

Judy D’Alessandro, Dutchess Tourism Inc.’s Board Chair, added her sentiment: “After a thorough search and extensive evaluation of candidates, the Board of Directors is pleased to appoint Melaine as our new President and CEO. Her energetic commitment to serving our community’s stakeholders and supporting the vital tourism sector in Dutchess County is immeasurable.”

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “While Mary Kay Vrba’s departure is bittersweet, following more than 25 years with Dutchess Tourism, we are thrilled to see Melaine Rottkamp ascend to become DTI’s new president and CEO. Melaine’s passion for Dutchess County and its world-class attractions is unparalleled; and with nearly nine years at Dutchess Tourism, Melaine will bring experience that will continue to propel this vital organization forward. We look forward to continued collaborations with Dutchess Tourism, under Melaine’s leadership, and we await the chance to welcome visitors to write their own story here in Dutchess County.”

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About Dutchess Tourism

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is an independent 501c6 non-profit organization that works to bring tourism dollars to area businesses by marketing and promoting the assets of Dutchess County to the nation and the world. The office is located at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 17 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County. The website is www.DutchessTourism.com and they can be reached at 845-463-4000. Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is partially funded by monies received from the County of Dutchess.

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Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

May 5th, 2020

National Travel and Tourism Week 2020 Celebrates Spirit of Travel: Dutchess Tourism Will Use 37th NTTW (May 3-9) to Look Ahead to Recovery

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), the annual celebration of the contributions and accomplishments of the U.S. travel industry, will spotlight resilience and hope in the face of the coronavirus pandemic with this year’s theme: the Spirit of Travel.

Celebrated annually the first full week in May, NTTW was created by Congress in 1983 to underscore the economic power of travel in the U.S. The 37th NTTW (May 3-9) arrives at an opportune moment to unite the industry, celebrate its indomitable spirit, and elevate the role it will play in the economic recovery of Dutchess County and other destinations all across America.

“We are heartened, but not surprised, by the way our tourism industry has come together to support each other and those in our community during this crisis,” said Dutchess Tourism Inc. President & CEO Mary Kay Vrba. “To all the tourism-related businesses and the hospitality workers whose kindness and professionalism make our destination an incredible place to visit, live, work and play, we salute you!” She added, “We know times are tough right now – especially for our industry - and people need help. Dutchess Tourism has been keeping our destination top-of-mind by sharing attractions’ virtual offerings, creating special promotions, fighting for federal relief, and being a trusted resource now and through each phase of the recovery process.”

In past years, Dutchess Tourism has marked the occasion with an annual Brochure Exchange Tailgate and Tourism Awards of Distinction Breakfast where they announce winners in eight categories from a total of 24 finalists. Since large, in-person rallies and events have been banned across New York State through at least May 15th, this event has tentatively been rescheduled for June 16, 2020. Winners will be announced at that time even if a gathering is not permitted.

Instead, the non-profit has other plans to celebrate NTTW including: participating in the industry’s first Twitter #VirtualRoadTrip across the U.S.; daily Facebook videos from local tourism partners sharing what the Spirit of Travel means to them; and a spotlight highlighting the many ways local tourism businesses continue to make a difference in our community even when they aren’t able to welcome visitors. They’re also launching a new promotion called “Dutchess Daydreamin’ Deals” with over 30 deals to buy now and enjoy later to help drive sales to these businesses right now when they need it most.

With a nod to Dutchess Tourism’s new inspirational “We Will Fly Again” video, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “The tourism industry is a multi-faceted, vibrant endeavor, one that adds so much to our community; and the dedicated hospitality professionals who welcome countless visitors from around the world are resilient. The spirit of travel will return, and Dutchess County will again assume its role as a statewide tourism leader. During National Travel and Tourism Week, we celebrate the unique attractions and charm that make our county distinct and give guests unparalleled opportunities to write their own Dutchess County story. Today we’re reminded #WeWillFlyAgain in Dutchess County.”

Molinaro signed a proclamation declaring May 3-9, 2020 National Travel & Tourism Week in Dutchess County and urged residents to join him in recognizing the critical role this industry plays throughout the county. The towns of Clinton, Dover, East Fishkill, Pine Plains and Rhinebeck have also adopted similar proclamations with additional municipalities set to join them. All will be added to the dedicated NTTW landing page on Dutchess Tourism’s website along with a copy of the proclamation from the county executive.

Additional support for the travel industry and the more than 11,000 people whose livelihoods depend on tourism will be on display Tuesday, May 5 for National Travel Rally Day when the Mid-Hudson Bridge and Dutchess County Office Building will be lit red in their honor.

To learn more about Dutchess Tourism’s NTTW plans, visit www.DutchessTourism.com/nttw and visit ustravel.org/NTTW to learn more about the week.

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About Dutchess Tourism

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is an independent 501c6 non-profit organization that works to bring tourism dollars to area businesses by marketing and promoting the assets of Dutchess County to the nation and the world. The office is located at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 17 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County. The website is www.DutchessTourism.com and they can be reached at 845-463-4000. Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is partially funded by monies received from the County of Dutchess.

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Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

April 7th, 2020

Finalists Announced for Dutchess Tourism Awards of Distinction: Tentative New Date for Awards Recognition Breakfast

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY– Dutchess Tourism, Inc. has announced the finalists for their 7th Annual Dutchess Tourism Awards of Distinction. Award winners in eight categories will be announced at a special breakfast that has tentatively been rescheduled for 9:00 a.m., Tuesday, June 16th at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum. The event was to have taken place May 7th during National Travel & Tourism Week.

These are the three finalists in each category:

The Dutchess County Executive’s Award for Overall Distinction: Dutchess County Fairgrounds; Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum; Hudson Valley Renegades

Arts Award of Distinction: Bridge Music; Jazz in the Valley; MJN - Majed J. Nesheiwat Convention Center

Culinary Award of Distinction: Farmers & Chefs; Harlem Valley Homestead; Sunflower Bakery

Family Entertainment Award of Distinction: Four Brothers Drive-In Theatre; Greig Farm; Sinterklaas!

History Award of Distinction: Dutchess County Historic Tavern Trail; Elmendorph Inn/Historic Red Hook; Mount Gulian Historic Site

Outdoors Award of Distinction: Beatrix Farrand Garden Association; Innisfree Garden; Mountain Tops Outfitters

Hospitality Service Award of Distinction: Tom Baurer, Hospitality Volunteer; Djan Paunovic, Terrapin Restaurant; Adam Pregno, Marriott International

Accessible Hospitality Award of Distinction:  Egg Hunts for All at Tymor Park; Julie’s Jungle; Roosevelt & Lyceum Cinemas

According to Dutchess Tourism President & CEO Mary Kay Vrba, “Even though we are not able to gather together during this difficult time, we still want to honor our tradition of recognizing the small businesses and non-profits who provide exceptional offerings to our community and contribute to a “Storied Experience” for our visitors.” She added, “We are very much looking forward to the day when we can celebrate with them in person. In the meantime, our staff continues to work tirelessly from home so when the time is right, we are prepared to aggressively market travel to Dutchess County, and to play our part in re-invigorating our economy by inviting visitors to experience the dynamic destination that we are.”

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “During this tumultuous time, we recognize the many small businesses that are a part of our community and make up the fabric of Dutchess County’s tourism industry. We know many businesses are struggling and we want to take time to appreciate and recognize the good work and contributions that are being made on a daily basis by one of the county’s important industries.”

Tickets for the awards breakfast, catered by Simply Gourmet, are available at www.DutchessTourism.com/awards.  The breakfast will include local products from Ready Coffee, Soukup Farms, Harney & Sons Fine Teas and Hudson Valley Fresh. Reservations are required.

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About Dutchess Tourism

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is an independent 501c6 non-profit organization that works to bring tourism dollars to area businesses by marketing and promoting the assets of Dutchess County to the nation and the world. The office is located at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 17 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County. The website is www.DutchessTourism.com and they can be reached at 845-463-4000. Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is partially funded by monies received from the County of Dutchess.

See the full PDF

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Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

March 11th, 2020

Brand USA Features Poughkeepsie, Hyde Park in New Video

WASHINGTON, DC – Brand USA recently released its newest “Ask A Local” video which features Poughkeepsie Chef Brandon Walker, owner of Essie’s Restaurant, talking about his love of the area and some of what visitors can expect when they come to Dutchess County. The Poughkeepsie/Dutchess County video can be seen here https://youtu.be/0zI1imkISrk and will live on Brand USA’s YouTube channel, VisitTheUSA.com and TheBrandUSA.com. It may also be featured on GoUSA TV, Brand USA’s new connected TV channel on Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.

As the destination marketing organization for the United States, Brand USA's mission is to increase incremental international visitation, spend, and market share to fuel the nation’s economy and enhance the image of the USA worldwide. This stand-alone “Ask A Local” campaign uses a documentary-styled approach to share amazing travel experiences through the voices and faces of U.S. residents. These first-person recommendations highlight local attractions, food, nightlife, music, and scenery throughout the 50 states, 5 territories, and the District of Columbia. Poughkeepsie joins Buffalo as the only two cities in New York State highlighted in this campaign.

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. President & CEO Mary Kay Vrba said, “We’ve built a strong relationship with Brand USA over the years and are pleased we were able to attract them to our county for this project.” She added, “We have so many authentic experiences international travelers can have here in Dutchess County and it’s so exciting to be able to showcase our destination in this way. Chef Walker is a wonderful spokesperson to bring to life the vibrancy of Poughkeepsie, especially its world-class culinary scene.”

Chef Walker said, "The honor of sharing Poughkeepsie with potential international visitors to our community was very exciting and incredible. I was more than happy to participate because I’m very proud and prideful of what our community has to offer to our visitors."

“We are thrilled with Brand USA’s interest in our city and appreciate Dutchess Tourism’s efforts to bring them here,” said City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison. “Poughkeepsie has such a rich history and so many beautiful and interesting neighborhoods. The Walkway Over the Hudson has been a catalyst to spur more visitors and we want to encourage people to explore beyond it and enjoy all the other wonderful aspects of the city from it’s beautiful murals and amazing restaurants to festivals like family-friendly First Fridays and Jazz in the Valley.”

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ABOUT DUTCHESS TOURISM, INC.

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is an independent 501c6 non-profit organization that works to bring tourism dollars to area businesses by marketing and promoting the assets of Dutchess County to the nation and the world. The headquarters is at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 17 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County. Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is partially funded by monies received from the County of Dutchess. DutchessTourism.com

About Brand USA

Brand USA, the destination marketing organization for the United States, was established by the Travel Promotion Act as the nation's first public-private partnership to promote the United States as a premier travel destination and to communicate U.S. travel policies and procedures to worldwide travelers. The organization’s mission is to increase international visitation to the USA in order to fuel the U.S. economy and enhance the image of the United States worldwide. Formed as the Corporation for Travel Promotion in 2010, the public-private entity began operations in May 2011 and does business as Brand USA. According to studies by Oxford Economics, over the past six years, Brand USA's marketing initiatives have helped welcome 6.6 million incremental visitors to the USA, benefiting the U.S. economy with more than $21.8 billion in total economic impact and supporting, on average, nearly 52,000 incremental U.S. jobs a year.

For industry or partner information about Brand USA, visit TheBrandUSA.com. To discover more about the USA and the boundless diversity of American travel experiences and authentic, rich culture, please visit Brand USA’s consumer website VisitTheUSA.com and follow Visit The USA on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

February 27th, 2020

Dutchess Tourism Releases New Farm Finder Brochure

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY– Dutchess Tourism, Inc. (DTI) announced the release of a new brochure designed to draw attention to Dutchess County’s farms and agri-tourism attractions. This free brochure is available online at DutchessTourism.com/brochures-guides-newsletters, and in print at DTI’s 17 Tourist Information Centers located throughout the county. They will also be distributed at upcoming domestic travel trade shows in New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington D.C., and internationally at shows in Dublin, London and Berlin. There were 50,000 copies printed.

The Dutchess County Farm Finder brochure features a fold-out map showing the county’s 12 farmers markets and the 44 farms people can visit to participate in some type of activity. Activities could include: cut or pick-your own fruits, vegetables, flowers or Christmas trees; special events; festivals; classes; or animal experiences like horseback riding, llama and alpaca walking, goat petting, etc. Additionally, the brochure includes listings for 15 roadside stands, markets and specialty farm shops. Ten craft beverage producers that offer farm, vineyard or orchard experiences are also highlighted. To encourage repeat visitation, the brochure opens with four regional and seasonal two-day itineraries and a sampling of 21 agri-tourism events that happen throughout the year.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “Agriculture is an important part of Dutchess County’s heritage, dating back centuries, and we are fortunate to have dozens of active farms and farmers markets keeping that legacy alive today. Our local agri-tourism industry attracts countless visitors from around world with its year-round offerings, and Dutchess Tourism’s Farm Finder provides easy navigation to our county’s diverse farming assets and attractions.”

According to Dutchess Tourism President & CEO Mary Kay Vrba, “Of the $642.2 million visitors to Dutchess spent in 2018, $164 million was on food and beverage. Our farms and producers are an important part of that draw as visitors look to savor local and seek out farm-to-table experiences. This new brochure will help them connect where their food comes from to their dining experiences.”

Dutchess County Agricultural Navigator Jennifer Fimbel added, “This comprehensive new brochure will help bring visitors to our agri-tourism attractions and give our farmers the opportunity to interact with them, providing a value-added experience. Educating consumers as to how products are grown and raised as well as what’s in season also helps drive demand for their products beyond our local markets.”

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ABOUT DUTCHESS TOURISM, INC.

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is an independent 501c6 non-profit organization that works to bring tourism dollars to area businesses by marketing and promoting the assets of Dutchess County to the nation and the world. The headquarters is at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 17 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County. Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is partially funded by monies received from the County of Dutchess. DutchessTourism.com

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Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

February 24th, 2020

Dutchess Tourism Hosts Free Seminars This Spring

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – Dutchess Tourism, Inc. (DTI) will host four Lunch & Learn Seminars on Wednesdays from 12:00 - 1:30 p.m., March 4, 11, 18, 25. These free seminars are geared toward tourism-related businesses but are open to all. Participants are encouraged to bring their lunches to eat while they listen to the presentations. There will also be time for networking with other participants and the speakers.

Wednesday, March 4: The Ins & Outs of Working with Film & Television Productions

With an increasing number of television and film productions discovering the many benefits of filming in Dutchess County, now is the ideal time to learn the ins and outs of working with the film industry. Hudson Valley Film Commission Founder & Director Laurent Retjo will be on hand to discuss the many ways the film commission assists productions and how local people and area businesses can get involved. This first seminar in the series will take place at The CineHub in Beacon.

Wednesday, March 11: Photography and Brand Storytelling

Le Chambord at Curry Estates in Hopewell Junction will host Madeline Krause of Downstate Photo. Krause, who was one of Dutchess Tourism’s Featured Photographers, will share her expertise in photography along with user and brand experience knowledge to help businesses boost their websites and social media content. Key mobile phone photography basics will also be covered.

Wednesday, March 18: The Destination Accessible Experience

Within the past two years, 26 million Americans with disabilities took 73 million trips for business and pleasure, spent $17.3 billion while traveling, and contributed to $34.6 billion in total economic impact. Dutchess Tourism

Consumer Services & Special Events Manager Susanne O’Neil, B.A., MSW, will moderate a panel discussion with Q&A to provide a brief overview on Accessible Tourism and how this market is steadily on the rise. Hear testimonials from families on traveling with a person with either a physical, cognitive or developmental disability. They’ll share first-hand experiences of what they looked for prior to travel, lodging accommodations, transportation needs and how good customer service is key for repeat business. Local attractions will also share strategies for providing excellent service. This seminar will take place at the Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library & Museum Franklin in Hyde Park.

Wednesday, March 25: Punch Above Your Weight - Maximizing Your Attraction’s Marketing Budget

The final seminar in the series will take place at CO. in Rhinebeck. Thomas Mooney, CEO & executive creative director of FourthIdea will help businesses learn how to create a heavyweight marketing campaign with an undersized budget. This seminar covers four techniques that will give any attraction the marketing punch needed to deliver a knockout when fighting for visitation or additional business. Whether it’s media, branding or creative—everything must be driven by a strong brand strategy. This session will remind marketers of the fundamentals and introduce non-marketing businesspeople to key marketing principles needed to build sales.

To learn more about DTI’s Lunch & Learn series, visit DutchessTourism.com/tourism-business-events. Registration is required at http://bit.ly/2020LunchLearn. Those interested do not have to attend all four presentations in order to participate.

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About Dutchess Tourism

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is a 501c6 non-profit organization that works to bring tourism dollars to area businesses and our community by marketing and promoting the assets of Dutchess County to the nation and the world. The office is located at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 17 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County. The website is DutchessTourism.com and they can be reached at 845-463-4000. Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is partially funded by monies received from the County of Dutchess.

Dutchess Tourism, Inc., operating as Film Dutchess in the industry, offers various support efforts to all manner of productions looking to film in the county. For more information, visit DutchessTourism.com/film-in-dutchess

See the full PDF

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Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

February 21st, 2020

Nominations Accepted for Dutchess Tourism Awards of Distinction: Including New Category Highlighting Accessible Tourism Experiences

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is requesting nominations from Dutchess County residents and businesses for their 7th Annual Dutchess Tourism Awards of Distinction. Awards will be presented to winners who provide exceptional offerings to visitors and contribute to a “Storied Experience” for travelers coming to Dutchess in the following categories: Arts, Culinary, Family Entertainment, History, Outdoors, and Hospitality Service. Joining these categories will be the new Accessible Hospitality Award of Distinction. This could be a hotel, restaurant, attraction or event that goes above and beyond standard ADA compliance to create accessible, welcoming experiences for travelers with disabilities. An eighth award is The Dutchess County Executive’s Award for Overall Distinction.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “Since we began our ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ initiative just a few years ago, we’ve changed the hearts and minds of countless residents about their friends and neighbors with disabilities – and visitors to Dutchess County have seen the difference. More than ever, local entertainment venues, destinations, hotels and eateries have answered our call to action and made inclusive accommodations to welcome guests of every ability. Dutchess County is proud to honor the example these establishments have set for our community, and we’re confident even more will ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ and follow their lead.”

Nominees should be Dutchess County tourism-related businesses or organizations open to the public. The exception is for the Hospitality Service Award which is given to a single front-line customer service staff member. Applications should detail how nominees consistently innovate, grow and exceed expectations to help travelers to Dutchess have an excellent experience. Nominations are due by March 13th and past winners are not eligible. For submission information and a list of past winners, visit DutchessTourism.com/nominations.

Three finalists in each category will be announced daily the week of March 30 through Dutchess Tourism’s social media channels. The winners will be named at The Dutchess Tourism Awards of Distinction Breakfast held at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum’s Wallace Center, Tuesday, May 7th. For more information, sponsorship details or to purchase tickets, visit DutchessTourism.com/tourism-business-events.

Dutchess Tourism President & CEO Mary Kay Vrba said, “We’re proud to be able to recognize the many outstanding partners who tirelessly work to positively impact our local economy, employ local people and give residents an unmatched quality of life.” Tourism provides significant economic impact to communities throughout Dutchess County and supports the livelihoods of more than 11,000 hard-working residents. In 2018, visitors spent $642.2 million on lodging, food, shopping, and area attractions and generated $44 million in local sales tax. Were it not for tourism, the average family in Dutchess would have to pay an additional $743 annually to cover that tax shortfall.

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About Dutchess Tourism

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is an independent 501c6 non-profit organization that works to bring tourism dollars to area businesses by marketing and promoting the assets of Dutchess County to the nation and the world. The office is located at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 17 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County. The website is www.DutchessTourism.com and they can be reached at 845-463-4000. Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is partially funded by monies received from the County of Dutchess.

See the full PDF

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Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

February 11th, 2020

Film Dutchess Announces Free Seminar on Local Film Industry

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – A presentation by Hudson Valley Film Commission (HVFC) Founder & Director Laurent Retjo will kick-off Dutchess Tourism’s annual Lunch & Learn seminar series. “The Ins & Outs of Working with Film & Television Productions” will be held Wednesday, March 4 from 12:00-1:30 p.m. at The CineHub in Beacon. All seminars in the series are geared toward tourism-related businesses but are open to all. Participants are encouraged to bring their lunches to eat while they listen to the presentations. There will also be time to network with other participants and speakers. Attendees must RSVP at http://bit.ly/2020LunchLearn.

Since 2000, the HVFC has supported and worked on over 500 productions, helping to create thousands of jobs and over $200 million in regional economic development. Recent productions filmed in Dutchess County include “Things Heard and Seen” (Netflix), “Silent Retreat” (Miramax), “I Know This Much Is True” (HBO), “Lapsis” (world premiere at Sundance), “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” (Netflix), “Can You Keep a Secret?” (BCDF Pictures) and “Shirley” (Killer Films). Seminar attendees will learn how the HVFC helps productions secure local crew, cast, locations, vendors, postproduction facilities, and how their businesses can get involved. Retjo will answer questions like: what kind of crew members do productions hire; how can I get work as a crew member or actor; what kind of vendors do local productions need; and how can I rent my house or business as a location?

“An increasing number of television and film productions are discovering the many benefits of filming in Dutchess County,” said Dutchess Tourism President & CEO Mary Kay Vrba. “Now is the ideal time for our businesses to learn how they can benefit by taking advantage of the opportunities filming brings to our region.” Dutchess Tourism, operating as Film Dutchess in the industry, offers various support efforts to all manner of productions looking to film in the county.

The other three seminars in the series will take place March 11, 18 & 25 at locations around Dutchess County. These include presentations on photography, brand storytelling, creating accessible destination experiences and marketing on a budget. To learn more about DTI’s Lunch & Learn series, visit DutchessTourism.com/tourism-business-events. Registration is required at http://bit.ly/2020LunchLearn. Those interested do not have to attend all four presentations in order to participate.

#  #  #

About Dutchess Tourism

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is a 501c6 non-profit organization that works to bring tourism dollars to area businesses and our community by marketing and promoting the assets of Dutchess County to the nation and the world. The office is located at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 17 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County. The website is DutchessTourism.com and they can be reached at 845-463-4000. Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is partially funded by monies received from the County of Dutchess.

For more information on Film Dutchess, visit DutchessTourism.com/film-in-dutchess

See the full PDF

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Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

January 23rd, 2020

Mary Kay Vrba to Retire from Dutchess Tourism

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – Dutchess Tourism, Inc. (DTI) today announced that Mary Kay Vrba, the organization’s President and CEO, has decided to retire effective July 20, 2020. DTI’s Board of Directors will conduct a transition and search process for a new, permanent President/CEO in accordance with their Succession Plan.

Vrba has contributed over 25 years of experience to DTI, serving most recently as Executive Director for eight years preceding her current position. Before her tenure at DTI, she held positions at Hudson River Valley Association, Crossroads International and Dutchess County Parks, Recreation and Conservation – a 40-year career devoted to local tourism.

Under Vrba’s leadership, Dutchess County’s vibrant tourism industry has grown exponentially, with more than 4.5 million visitors annually, spending over $640 million and supporting more than 11,000 local jobs. DTI has played a pivotal role in that growth and Vrba has led numerous initiatives and has achieved many successes including:

  • Launch of the organization’s first website in 1995 – today’s Dutchess Tourism website is visited by over one million visitors,
  • Development of new events, programs and tours which increase county visitation,
  • Completion of visitor profile studies, a lodging analysis and DestinationNEXT local leaders’ study to inform strategic marketing plans,
  • Production of an-award winning VR (virtual reality) video – the first by any tourism organization in the region, placing Dutchess Tourism at the forefront of international marketing efforts,
  • Travel with I LOVE NEW YORK to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Australia and China, expanding Dutchess County’s international market.

In 2014, Vrba led the organization’s transition from an arm of the Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation to an independent 501c6 non-profit organization with a 25-member Board of Directors. Since then, the organization has grown by doubling the number of full-time employees and now provides more than 600 tourism-related entities in Dutchess County with business, marketing, education and other support. In 2017, under Vrba’s leadership, DTI became one of less than 200 destination marketing organizations world-wide to receive accreditation from Destinations International.

Vrba said “Working in Dutchess County and with Dutchess Tourism is the best job available. The support from County Executive Molinaro and the County Legislature chaired by Gregg Pulver, enables our dynamic team to tell the Dutchess County story and put us on the map. There comes a time in everyone’s career where it is time to move on to the next adventure, and that time for me is now.”

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “Throughout her tenure at Dutchess Tourism, Mary Kay Vrba has been a master of telling the story of Dutchess County, sharing with visitors from around the world that which make us such a unique and desirable destination. Mary Kay has raised our county’s profile throughout the national and international travel markets, becoming a respected industry leader, revered for her knowledge, experience and professionalism. More than simply an advocate for what makes Dutchess truly distinct, Mary Kay has led the charge for our local tourism industry, an economic engine that adds more than $600 million in annual visitor spending and employs thousands of our residents. I have been honored to call Mary Kay a colleague. Admittedly, though, I have genuine mixed emotions as she is among my dearest and trusted friends, a grounded and forthright advisor and an incomparable and decent woman.  While I am saddened to see her step down, I wish her every happiness as she turns the page and writes the next chapter of her story – let there be no mistake she has made an immeasurable and indelible mark in the story of Dutchess.”

Judy D’Alessandro, Dutchess Tourism Inc.’s Board Chair, added her sentiment: “Everyone knows the joy and passion Mary Kay brings to promoting Dutchess County’s tourism businesses and attractions to the world. What they might not know is how she works tirelessly behind the scenes to bring diverse groups of people together to enhance the quality of life we all enjoy.”

Vrba’s accolades include being named among Hudson Valley Women in Business by Hudson Valley Magazine, Distinguished Alumnae by the Dutchess County Regional Chamber Foundation’s Leadership Dutchess program, Outstanding Woman in Destination Management/Marketing by Women in Travel & Tourism, International, Power Women Honoree by Moves Magazine, recipient of the Henry Award in Tourism from Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, recipient of the Distinguished Alumnae Award from College of St. Mary, recipient of the Peggy Martinko Trailblazer Award from the ARC of Dutchess, and more. Vrba has served on boards and committees for Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, New York State Travel Industry (formerly New York State Tourism Promotion Agency Council), US Travel Association and Destinations International.

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About Dutchess Tourism

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is an independent 501c6 non-profit organization that works to bring tourism dollars to area businesses by marketing and promoting the assets of Dutchess County to the nation and the world. The office is located at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 17 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County. The website is www.DutchessTourism.com and they can be reached at 845-463-4000. Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is partially funded by monies received from the County of Dutchess.

See the full PDF

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Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

January 21st, 2020

Dutchess Tourism Elects Board Members Officers

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – Dutchess Tourism, Inc. (DTI) announced the slate of board members who were elected to three-year terms at the board’s annual meeting on January 16, 2020. Members are as follows: Brent Caster from Bonura Hospitality; Colleen Cruikshank from Northern Dutchess Hospital; Wesley Dixon from Vassar College; Stancy DuHamel from the Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail Community; Elaine Hayes from Mount Gulian; Gaye Mallet from Adams Fairacre Farms; community volunteer Barbara Malley; Debra Pemstein from Bard College; Andrea Reynolds from the Dyson Foundation; and Brandon Walker from B&L Hospitality/Essie’s Restaurant.

The board also elected officers at the meeting for fiscal year 2020. Judy D’Alessandro from the HYATT house in Fishkill will serve as board chair while Angela LoBianco-Barone will be vice chair. Additionally, Cruikshank will serve as secretary and David Bova from Millbrook Vineyards & Winery will serve as treasurer.

“The board members, professional staff, and I are committed to ensuring the continued success of the tourism industry in Dutchess,” said D’Alessandro. “Our mission is to provide the maximum economic benefit to our communities and we are thrilled to have the support of our many partners, including County Executive Molinaro, the Dutchess County Legislature and the Dutchess County IDA, as we focus our efforts on responsible, sustainable growth.”

Dutchess Tourism President and CEO Mary Kay Vrba noted, “Tourism is a shared community asset. By promoting Dutchess County as a world-class destination, we can develop opportunities to build quality of life for the benefit of every resident.” She added, “With this strong team in place and our strategic plan, we are poised to compete with every other destination for our share of visitors, talent and investment.”

Tourism is New York State’s third largest industry. In 2018, visitors injected $642.2 million into Dutchess County’s economy and generated enough tax revenue to reduce the tax burden by $743 per household. It also supports the livelihoods of county residents in the form of 11,024 jobs with a combined income of $352 million dollars that then get spent on things like homes, groceries, and other goods and services.

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About Dutchess Tourism

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is an independent 501c6 non-profit organization that works to bring tourism dollars to area businesses by marketing and promoting the assets of Dutchess County to the nation and the world. The office is located at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 17 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County. The website is www.DutchessTourism.com and they can be reached at 845-463-4000. Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is partially funded by monies received from the County of Dutchess.

See the full PDF

Back to top

Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

January 9th, 2020

Three-Day Gospel Festival is Fun for the Whole Family, Youth Workshops Just Announced

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – The Hudson Valley Gospel Festival is a new three-day festival, February 21-23, that welcomes gospel enthusiasts to celebrate the musical genre’s impact on the world. The festival includes performances on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and workshops for all ages, with youth sessions just announced. Those interested in participating in the full weekend’s itinerary can purchase a Weekend Pass, while separate daily performance tickets are also available. Pricing begins at $50.

Majed J. Nesheiwat Convention Center, Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel and Conference Center, and Changepoint Theater will host the weekend’s events, and special lodging packages are available for attendees on pokgrand.com using the promotion group code GOSPEL or by calling the hotel directly at 845-485-5300 and mentioning the event.

Attendees will enjoy performances by Everett Drake, Pastor Edwrin Sutton, and the Livingstone College Gospel Choir. Each concert will feature a performance by the Hudson Valley Community Gospel Choir, a local ensemble formed in conjunction with the festival, led by director Dr. Mary Mclymore and minister of music Rev. T. Motley-Epps. The Gospel Walk Through History on Friday evening, and the Hat Parade on Sunday morning are not to be missed. Eventgoers can shop vendors selling choir-related merchandise, concert apparel and formal wear throughout the weekend.

Those who purchase Weekend Passes will participate in eight workshops on Saturday. Youth workshop sessions for ages 13-18 have just been announced, covering topics including Gospel Music singing and instruments, Gospel Music and Black History, History of Black Fraternities and Sororities, African Americans in Photography, African dance, and Arts and Crafts. For more information on all workshops, visit dutchesstourism.com/gospelworkshops.

To purchase tickets, visit dutchesstourism.com/ticketinfo.

Hudson Valley Gospel Festival 2020: Ain’t That Good News is presented by Dutchess Tourism Inc., Arts Mid-Hudson, and the HV Gospel Festival Committee: Ray Watkins, Linda Anderson, Linda Marston Reid, Shirley Adams, Eugena Carlisle, Janis Johnson, Elinor Levy, Carmen McGill, Rennle Raffington, and Sherre Wesley.

Hudson Valley Gospel Festival 2020 is sponsored by Stewarts Shops and Rhinebeck Bank. Sponsorship opportunities are still available, visit dutchesstourism.com/gospelfestivalsponsors for more information.

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About Hudson Valley Gospel Festival 2020

February 21 – 23, 2020, celebrate Black History Month in the heart of the Hudson Valley at a new, weekend long festival celebrating gospel music. Hudson Valley Gospel Festival 2020, hosted at Majed J. Nesheiwat Convention Center, Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel and Conference Center and Changepoint Theater, will honor the cultural and spiritual impact the genre has had on the world.

About Dutchess Tourism

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is an independent 501c6 non-profit organization that supports local businesses and organizations by bringing tourism dollars and investment into our community through the worldwide promotion of Dutchess County. The office is located at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 17 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County.

About Arts Mid-Hudson

Arts Mid-Hudson is the preeminent nonprofit arts service organization serving the Mid-Hudson region. The mission of Arts Mid-Hudson is to provide vision and leadership to support thriving and diverse arts in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Through our art partners, a diverse offering of arts and cultural programs, many free, attract a range of age groups and are produced across a broad geographic area.

See the full PDF

Back to top

Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

December 12th, 2019

Locals Welcome to Join Hudson Valley Community Gospel Choir

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – Hudson Valley locals are invited to join the Hudson Valley Community Gospel Choir, an ensemble that will perform at the inaugural, weekend-long Hudson Valley Gospel Festival in Poughkeepsie on February 21 – 23, 2020.

Adults interested in joining the choir must attend the first rehearsal on Friday, December 13 at 7:00 p.m. at Beulah Baptist Church in Poughkeepsie. To perform at the festival, choir members must attend all rehearsals (full schedule at dutchesstourism.com/choir.)

The Hudson Valley Community Gospel Choir is directed by Mary Mclymore, and the band master is Rev. Terrence Motley-Epps.

For questions about joining the choir, email Ray Watkins at raywatkins@mindspring.com or HVGospelfest@gmail.com.

Hudson Valley Gospel Festival 2020: Ain’t That Good News is presented by Dutchess Tourism Inc., Arts Mid-Hudson, and the HV Gospel Festival Committee: Ray Watkins, Linda Anderson, Linda Marston Reid, Shirley Adams, Eugena Carlisle, Janis Johnson, Elinor Levy, Carmen McGill, Rennle Raffington, and Sherre Wesley.

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About Hudson Valley Gospel Festival 2020

February 21 – 23, 2020, celebrate Black History Month in the heart of the Hudson Valley at a new, weekend long festival celebrating gospel music. Hudson Valley Gospel Festival 2020, hosted at Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel and Conference Center, Majed J. Nesheiwat Convention Center and Changepoint Theater, will honor the cultural and spiritual impact the genre has had on the world.

About Dutchess Tourism

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is an independent 501c6 non-profit organization that supports local businesses and organizations by bringing tourism dollars and investment into our community through the worldwide promotion of Dutchess County. The office is located at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 17 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County.

About Arts Mid-Hudson

Arts Mid-Hudson is the preeminent nonprofit arts service organization serving the Mid-Hudson region. The mission of Arts Mid-Hudson is to provide vision and leadership to support thriving and diverse arts in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Through our art partners, a diverse offering of arts and cultural programs, many free, attract a range of age groups and are produced across a broad geographic area.

See the full PDF

Back to top

Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

November 20th, 2019

Dutchess Tourism Announces Hotel Week 2020

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – Dutchess Tourism, Inc. (DTI) today announced the details of Hotel Week 2020, during which participating hotels offer $99 room rates.* Running from Jan. 19 through Feb. 2, 2020, Dutchess Hotel Week 2020 features over a dozen lodging properties offering a discounted stay.

Participating Hotels include:

There are plenty of activities this time of year in Dutchess County. Plan your winter getaway today:

Grab your mittens:

Treats for the eyes and ears:

Taste something new:

*General Terms & Conditions: Dutchess Hotel Week 2020 room rate and room types are subject to individual hotel availability. Rate does not include taxes, gratuities or other incidental charges. This offer may not be combined with any other discounts or offers. Please refer to individual rate specifications as offered for each hotel. Visit dutchesstourism.com/hotel-week for details on how to book discounted stays.

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About Dutchess Tourism

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is an independent 501c6 non-profit organization that works to bring tourism dollars to area businesses by marketing and promoting the assets of Dutchess County to the nation and the world. The office is located at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 18 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County. Dutchess Tourism is partially funded by monies received from the County of Dutchess.

See the full PDF

Back to top

Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

November 19th, 2019

Mary Kay Vrba Honoree at Moves Magazine Annual Power Women Gala

NEW YORK, NY – Moves Magazine named Mary Kay Vrba, President and CEO of Dutchess Tourism, Inc. (DTI), a 2019 Power Women Honoree at its annual gala event Friday evening. The Moves Power Women Gala, now in its 16th year, honors and celebrates women who embody the magazine’s commitment to women’s rights, social fairness and equality. Vrba and 24 others were selected from a broad spectrum of industries in 2019, for leading by example and acting as role models for future generations of young women.

With 32 years of tourism experience, Vrba has continuously spread the message that the strengthening of the local tourism industry leads to an ever-growing influx of tourists which, in turn, fuels economic growth. Vrba led the organization’s transition in 2013 from an arm of Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation to an independent 501c6 non-profit. Since then, DTI has grown in staffing and scope to provide more than 600 tourism-related entities in Dutchess County with business, marketing, education and other support. In 2017, DTI became one of less than 200 destination marketing organizations world-wide to receive accreditation from Destinations International.

“No one is more deserving of this recognition than Dutchess Tourism Inc.’s Mary Kay Vrba,” said Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro. “Our very own Power Woman, Mary Kay has put Dutchess County on the map as a global travel destination. For 25 years her impressive achievements externally promoting the county to potential visitors and internally fostering relationships among local industry partners at Dutchess Tourism, Inc. have earned her the utmost respect by her peers.”

“I am incredibly honored to be one of the many Moves Power Women honorees. It is humbling to stand among female heroes, leaders and changemakers who have all made a difference in this world,” said Vrba. “I feel blessed to be in the business of travel, which gives people new experiences and stories to tell every day. The success of our local industry has a ripple effect that positively impacts our county residents. I am proud to say that our all-female team strives for excellence, knowing that it means an improved quality of life for our community.”

Video links from event:

https://youtu.be/--os9__d2xo

https://youtu.be/GC6GAqzqCt0

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About Moves Magazine

Moves Magazine advocates for women’s rights, social fairness and equal opportunity to its readers. The annual Power Women Gala is the magazine’s year-end celebration of 25 women from all spheres who endorse these aims and make a difference. An example and role model for future generations of young women, our nominees lead by example, are accommodating and flexible by nature, yet strong and immovable on points of principle; always determined but always aware of circumstance.

About Power Women

Moves Power Women make striking changes in today's male dominated society... with femininity and grace. Chosen from the broadest spectrum of society, each of our Power Women achieves the respect of their industry insiders and recognition and admiration from women everywhere. A Moves Power Woman is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others and clearing the path for the next generation. She shows leadership and dedication; influencing and unafraid to be influenced within her chosen field and recognizes the need for changes in society, and willing to make sacrifices to achieve these changes... behind the scenes or front of house.

About Dutchess Tourism

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is an independent 501c6 non-profit organization that works to bring tourism dollars to area businesses by marketing and promoting the assets of Dutchess County to the nation and the world. The office is located at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 18 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County. Dutchess Tourism is partially funded by monies received from the County of Dutchess.

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Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

November 4th, 2019

Tis the Season for Wintry Getaways: Five Charming Dutchess County Villages to Visit This Holiday Season

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – Some may say ‘there’s no place like home’ when it comes to the holidays, but exploring some of Dutchess County’s charming small towns during the festive season may convince you otherwise. Nestled in the heart of New York’s beloved Hudson Valley region, Dutchess County is known for its unique villages and bustling main streets, boutique shops perfect for holiday gifting, standout restaurants and unique hotel accommodations to fit travelers’ diverse wants and needs. And for visitors looking for the ultimate holiday experience, Dutchess offers over 15 Christmas tree farms, such as Battenfeld’s or Abel’s where guests can cut down their own tree or pick out a festive holiday wreath. To follow are five of the area’s most charming towns to visit this holiday season:

Rhinebeck, NY

Just east of the Hudson River, with the Catskill Mountains in the distance, Rhinebeck boasts tree-lined village streets complete with a variety of specialty shops and restaurants. With the holidays just around the corner, visitors can get a head start on holiday shopping with boutique stores like Land of Oz Toys, Paper Trail and Rhinebeck Antique Emporium. Whether visitors are looking to satisfy a sweet tooth at celebrity-owned Samuel’s Sweet Shop, take home a holiday dessert from Bread Alone, or indulge in fine cuisine at Terrapin, Rhinebeck has something for every palate. Wintertime visitors also have the unique opportunity to experience Dutchess’ decorated estates and historic homes such as Wilderstein State Historic Site as well as the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt in nearby Hyde Park. And no holiday visit to Rhinebeck is complete without participating in the village’s Sinterklaas festival, an annual tradition celebrating Dutch heritage featuring over 250 musicians, actors, magicians and other magical performers. Cozy up at the oldest inn in America, Beekman Arms & Delmater Inn, or stay at the world-class boutique hotel, Mirbeau Inn & Spa, which just opened this fall.

Millerton, NY

Historic Millerton first became a center for commerce and culture when the hamlet was established as a railroad hub in the mid-19th century. Much of the historic architecture has been preserved from that time, and today its Main Street has a thriving boutique and antique shopping scene including Oblong Books and Music and The Millerton Antiques Center. Visitors can delight in the town’s iconic coffee and tea shops, Irving Farm New York or Harney & Son’s Tea Room – both located along Millerton’s Main Street. Before heading back to The Millerton Inn, the hamlet’s beautifully-appointed 11-room boutique hotel, visitors can catch at screening at The Moviehouse, an independent cinema that screens Hollywood films and documentaries.

Millbrook, NY

Visitors to the Village of Millbrook will enjoy the restaurants and eateries along Franklin Avenue, including Canoe Hill, Babette’s Kitchen and the village’s newest addition, Barbaro. High-end shops like Alicia Adams Alpaca Inc., Millbrook House or Cordially Corinne for any last-minute holiday shopping needs also dot the village streets. And Merritt Bookstore on Front Street is not to be missed. Outside the village, pick up a few bottles for hostess gifts at one of the Hudson Valley’s leading wine purveyors, Millbrook Vineyards & Winery, and take in scenic views, a tour and tasting. Up on the hill overlooking the vineyard is Wing’s Castle, a unique bed and breakfast created by two artists that has been featured on HGTV’s Extreme Homes and The History Channel. For those looking to venture out, Troutbeck, a once private estate visited by Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Teddy Roosevelt, is nestled in the nearby town of Amenia, just 20 minutes from Millbrook’s village.

Pawling, NY

Nestled in the foothills of the Taconic Mountains and easily accessible via Metro North Railroad, Pawling boasts a quiet and quaint village with much to do around the holidays. Stop into McKinney & Doyle’s Fine Foods for holiday baked goods or classic American cuisine. Find the perfect holiday gift while shopping along Charles Coleman Boulevard at Good Tidings Gift Shop or The Blue Olive, the village’s specialty olive oils and vinegar shop. Just a short drive from the village, Daryl’s House Restaurant & Music Club is gearing up for the holidays with shows including Gary Hoey’s Ho Ho Hoey Rockin’ Holiday Tour and Rock This Town Orchestra’s Christmas Spectacular. Guests will feel right at home at The Pawling House, a 5-bedroom bed and breakfast, a short walk from the village.

Beacon, NY

Beacon’s long and winding Main Street is the perfect place to do some holiday shopping, with boutiques and specialty shops like Vintage:Beacon, Blackbird Attic, Mountain Top Outfitters and More Good. Known as an artist’s mecca, travelers can create their own glass-blown holiday ornament at Hudson Beach Glass, or visit Dia:Beacon where some of the world’s most distinguished collections of contemporary art reside. With options for every palate, visitors can nosh at standout restaurants like Melzingah Tap House, Meyer’s Olde Dutch Food & Such and Tito Santana Taqueria. Before retreating for the night, guests are encouraged to warm up by the fire at The Roundhouse.

For more information on Dutchess County hotels, restaurants and things to do, or to plan your visit to Dutchess today, visit www.dutchesstourism.com.

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About Dutchess Tourism:

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is an independent 501c6 non-profit organization that works to bring tourism dollars to area businesses by marketing and promoting the assets of Dutchess County to the nation and the world. The office is located at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 17 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County. Dutchess Tourism is partially funded by monies received from the County of Dutchess.  

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Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

October 24th, 2019

Dutchess Tourism Targets Drive Market with Rideshare Advertising

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY– Dutchess Tourism, Inc. (DTI) today announced its newest advertising campaign in Philadelphia and Washington D.C., targeting potential visitors in the major cities of the Mid-Atlantic region with branded rideshare vehicles by Carvertise. The campaign describes a visit to Dutchess County as “A Storied Experience,” a concept developed with FourthIdea, DTI’s branding agency.

The industry leader in rideshare advertising, Carvertise contracts with Uber and Lyft drivers to wrap their personal vehicles. The company has a driver network of over 500,000 registered drivers and works with hundreds of clients. Launched in August, DTI’s campaign includes 13 branded Uber & Lyft cars across both cities.

“Our Visitor Profile in 2018 revealed that revenue is tripled when visitors stay overnight compared to day trippers,” said Mary Kay Vrba, Dutchess Tourism, Inc. president and CEO. “This means that overnight visitor spending has the largest impact on our community’s economy and that’s why this is the primary focus of our marketing efforts. Travelers from the drive markets of Philadelphia, about 3.5 hours by car or train, and D.C., about 5.5 hours by car or train, are likely to stay for two to three nights with plenty of activities to keep them interested in our destination.”

The drivers of DTI-branded vehicles are informed on the destination and share details about Dutchess County with their riders. A mini storybook further tells the narrative of the county’s storied attractions and invites the reader to write their own story with blank pages at the back. In an anonymous survey, one driver reported having spoken with a passenger for over 20 minutes about each attraction in the storybook.

DTI’s “A Storied Experience” campaign with Carvertise features four ads highlighting both historical attractions and outdoor recreational experiences in Dutchess County. Each ad encourages the viewer to visit a unique URL at dutchesstourism.com to read “the full story,” and begin planning their trip. For example, the car featuring America’s 32nd President Franklin D. Roosevelt points to dutchesstourism.com/FDR where more information about the county’s historical attractions is presented.

“It’s imperative the stories that destinations tell visitors are unique and entirely own-able. Dutchess County, New York is one of the few places that can boast a harmonious balance of scenic, rural landscapes, sophisticated, urban culture, and a storied history of empire-builders, visionaries and artists,” said Thomas Mooney, CEO & executive creative director at FourthIdea. “This campaign breaks the traditional mold of brand storytelling and characterizes an entire region in the Hudson Valley. It defines what Dutchess County stands for, what it offers its visitors, and tells a story that can’t be read in any book.”

“Dutchess County has a little something for everyone. Whether it’s the Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site and Presidential Library & Museum, the Walkway Over the Hudson, The Culinary Institute of America or the Appalachian Trail, the stories to be told are endless,” said Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro. “Visitors coming from Philadelphia and D.C. will soon learn that with access by train or car to all corners of the county, Dutchess County is an ideal getaway.”

While the campaign is ongoing, early results show over 4.5 million impressions from curious onlookers, along with numerous conversations about Dutchess County with passengers.

“I’m so glad that residents and visitors to our nation’s capital and the vibrant city of Philadelphia will have the opportunity to learn more about Dutchess County, located in the heart of the beautiful Hudson Valley, and all that it has to offer,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer. “Tourism is a vital component of New York’s economy, employing thousands and bringing in millions of dollars. Dutchess County has always been a staple in Hudson Valley tourism--improving the state’s economic stability and I am happy to support Dutchess Tourism’s strategic marketing efforts that will help us continue to make strides in the right direction.”

Photo caption: Dutchess Tourism, Inc. today announced its newest advertising campaign in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., targeting potential visitors with branded rideshare vehicles. Passengers receive marketing materials and converse with informed drivers about the destination.

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About Dutchess Tourism

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is an independent 501c6 non-profit organization that works to bring tourism dollars to area businesses by marketing and promoting the assets of Dutchess County to the nation and the world. The office is located at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 18 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County. Dutchess Tourism is partially funded by monies received from the County of Dutchess.

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Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

September 18th, 2019

New Gospel Festival Coming to Poughkeepsie

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY– A new, weekend-long festival celebrating gospel music will take place in Poughkeepsie on February 21 – 23, 2020. Dutchess Tourism President & CEO Mary Kay Vrba announced details of the Hudson Valley Gospel Festival 2020: Ain’t That Good News today at the Majed J. Nesheiwat Convention Center.

This unique event that will honor the cultural and spiritual impact the gospel music genre has had on the world. Three City of Poughkeepsie venues will welcome attendees to the first-time festival. Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel and Conference Center and Changepoint Theater will host a series of workshops throughout the weekend, and Majed J. Nesheiwat Convention Center will host multiple headliner concert performances from Everett Drake, Pastor Edwrin Sutton and the Livingstone College Gospel Choir, with others to be announced. The event will also feature vendors selling choir-related merchandise, concert apparel and formal wear.

Everett Drake is a Nashville singer-songwriter and long-time vocalist for BET's Bobby Jones Gospel television show. A former member of the famed Johnson Ensemble, Drake has toured with artists representing a variety of music styles, including country’s Lyle Lovett and Donna Fargo, and pop and R&B group New Kids On The Block.

Pastor Edwrin Sutton of Columbus County, North Carolina is an author musician, psalmist, songwriter and preacher. Throughout his career has shared the stage with many personalities and performers such as Dr. Jamal Bryant, Pastor Tracey Troy, Earnest Pugh, Shirley Murdock, Daryl Coley, Luther Barnes, Dorothy Norwood, Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson and KeKe Wyatt. On numerous occasions he has appeared as the featured preacher on The Word Network's television broadcasts.

The Livingstone College Gospel Choir from Salisbury, North Carolina, is a body of students who are dedicated to using the gift of music to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. The choir has performed with famed gospel artists Erica Campbell, Donnie McClurkin, James Fortune, Fred Hammond and many others.

Friday evening will kick off with a walk through history, exploring gospel music through time, followed by a headliner improv concert with adult and youth performances by local choirs and members of area congregations. Saturday will offer a diverse array of workshop sessions on both traditional and contemporary gospel with focuses on call and response, spoken word, shedding, open voice, visual arts, music direction, youth choir (ages 12-17) and drum and dance ministry, followed by a red-carpet headliner performance. Lastly, Sunday features brunch and a hat parade before a final concert.

To register for the event, visit dutchesstourism.com or artsmidhudson.org.

Weekend passes include participation in workshops, admission to concert performances, and two meals. Special lodging packages are available for event attendees only on pokgrand.com using the promotion group code GOSPEL or by calling the hotel directly at 845-485-5300 and mentioning the event.

“The efforts of Dutchess Tourism, Inc. and Arts Mid-Hudson continue to improve the quality of life for residents and attract visitors to Dutchess County,” said Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro. “The Hudson Valley Gospel Festival is a perfect example of the partnership and collaboration between these two organizations. They are constantly innovating to enrich our arts scene which, in turn, increases the important impact tourism has on our economy.”

“According to our visitor profile survey, conducted in 2018, events such concerts and festivals are one of the top five reasons for a leisure trip to Dutchess County. Respondents to our survey also listed arts and culture as one of the top five important attributes a destination must have when selecting a getaway or vacation,” said Dutchess Tourism, Inc. President & CEO Mary Kay Vrba. “Hudson Valley Gospel Festival 2020 will attract new visitors to Dutchess and introduce them to our thriving arts scene.”

“Arts and culture events in the Mid-Hudson Valley attract 2.6 million day visitors and 1 million overnight visitors every year, according to a 2014 study by The Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz, which yearly injects $498 million directly into our region’s economy,” said Linda Marston-Reid, executive director of Arts Mid-Hudson. “In addition to its economic impact, the Valley’s unique arts culture enriches and strengthens its communities. Poughkeepsie’s ever-growing artist community is an ideal place for this first-time performing arts festival.”

Hudson Valley Gospel Festival 2020: Ain’t That Good News is presented by Dutchess Tourism Inc., Arts Mid-Hudson, and the HV Gospel Festival Committee: Ray Watkins, Linda Anderson, Linda Marston Reid, Shirley Adams, Eugena Carlisle, Janis Johnson, Elinor Levy, Carmen McGill, Rennle Raffington, and Sherre Wesley.

Photo caption: Bethel Missionary Baptist Church Liturgical Dancers perform at a press conference announcing the festival on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 at the Majed J. Nesheiwat Convention Center.

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About Dutchess Tourism

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is an independent 501c6 non-profit organization that works to bring tourism dollars to area businesses by marketing and promoting the assets of Dutchess County to the nation and the world. The office is located at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 18 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County. Dutchess Tourism is partially funded by monies received from the County of Dutchess.

About Arts Mid-Hudson

Arts Mid-Hudson is the preeminent nonprofit arts service organization serving the Mid-Hudson region. The mission of Arts Mid-Hudson is to provide vision and leadership to support thriving and diverse arts in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Through our art partners, a diverse offering of arts and cultural programs, many free, attract a range of age groups and are produced across a broad geographic area.

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Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

September 17th, 2019

Economic Impact of Tourism Continues to Soar: Visitor Spending in Dutchess Up 26% Over Last 5 Years

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY– Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced the 2018 New York State tourism figures, which established new records for total number of visitors, economic impact and direct spending. The report, conducted by Tourism Economics - an Oxford Economics Company, revealed that tourism spending in Dutchess County increased 6.8% over 2017 to more than $642.2 million. This is the ninth consecutive year spending has increased and marks a 26% increase since 2014.

More than 4.75 million people are estimated to visit the county annually. In addition to spending over half a billion dollars on lodging, dining, shopping, area attractions and transportation, tourism generated $44.7 million in local taxes and $35 million for New York State. According to the report, were it not for tourism-generated state and local taxes, the average household in Dutchess County would have to pay an additional $743 to maintain the same level of government revenue.

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. (DTI), an independent 501c6 non-profit organization, is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County. It is accredited by Destinations International and is responsible for promoting the area to a world-wide audience.

According to DTI President & CEO Mary Kay Vrba, “Tourism is a shared community resource enhancing the quality of life for our families, driving investment and providing opportunities for our friends and neighbors.” She added, “Our team is proud to serve our community and strives to ensure the continued success of the county’s tourism industry which is essential to maintaining the economic stability of the people who live and work in Dutchess.”

Tourism supports 11,024 jobs within Dutchess and registers as the state’s third largest industry. Wages in this sector also continued to grow showing an 8% increase over 2017.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “From the vast number of restaurants, historic sites, art galleries, and cultural attractions to the nearly 200 parks and public use areas and almost 400 miles of trails, there is so much that makes us Distinctly Dutchess.” He added, “The staff at Dutchess Tourism, led by Mary Kay Vrba, works tirelessly to promote our area through community-driven destination development that emphasizes economic, social and environmental sustainability. Thanks to their efforts, visitors from around the world come explore all we have to offer and spend more than half a billion dollars annually, helping keep more than 11,000 people employed, contributing to our state and local taxes, and making this industry a driving economic force for Dutchess communities.”

To attract visitors, DTI utilizes a multi-pronged, research-based, and targeted marketing strategy to raise awareness of Dutchess County and its tourism assets. This includes digital, print, television and radio advertising, primarily in the New York City-metro area and mid-Atlantic region as well as ads and articles in national magazines and international publications. DTI also prints and distributes 90,000 copies of their free Dutchess County Destination Guide annually along with a number of other publications available by request.

DTI is active on social media, attracting thousands of followers across all the major platforms, and produces videos to highlight events as well as experiences. Last year, over a million people visited the organization’s website, DutchessTourism.com, where they found full details on attractions as well as events, itineraries, spotlights and more.
 

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ABOUT DUTCHESS TOURISM, INC.

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is an independent 501c6 non-profit organization that works to bring tourism dollars to area businesses by marketing and promoting the assets of Dutchess County to the nation and the world. The office is located at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 18 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County. The website is DutchessTourism.com and they can be reached at 845-463-4000. Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is partially funded by monies received from the County of Dutchess.

TOURISM ECONOMICS

Tourism Economics, headquartered in Philadelphia, is an Oxford Economics company dedicated to providing high value, robust, and relevant analyses of the tourism sector that reflects the dynamics of local and global economies. By combining quantitative methods with industry knowledge, Tourism Economics designs custom market strategies, project feasibility analysis, tourism forecasting models, tourism policy analysis, and economic impact studies. The Impact Analysis for Planning (IMPLAN) input-output model was used for this report for New York State; it’s utilized worldwide by governments, universities, and public and private sector organizations. The model follows the flow of sales through the economy to the generation of GDP, employment, wages and taxes.

Tourismeconomics.com.

OXFORD ECONOMICS

Oxford Economics is one of the world’s leading providers of economic analysis, forecasts and consulting advice. Founded in 1981 as a joint venture with Oxford University’s business college, Oxford Economics is founded on a reputation for high quality, quantitative analysis and evidence-based advice. For this, it draws on its own staff of 130 highly-experienced professional economists; a dedicated data analysis team; global modeling tools; close links with Oxford University, and a range of partner institutions in Europe, the US and in the United Nations Project Link.

 

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Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

August 5th, 2019

Rottkamp Earns Tourism Industry's Highest Educational Achievement

ST LOUIS, MO – Destinations International announced that Dutchess Tourism, Inc. Vice President Melaine Rottkamp was among 31 industry leaders who received their Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) designation at the Annual Convention, July 23-25 in St. Louis, MO. Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International, congratulated the group and said, “These leaders have invested in their education and are now equipped with the knowledge needed to adapt to and manage the increasing change Melanie_Rottkamp_CMDE_recepiton_imageand competition facing our industry.”

The CDME program is the only integrated executive program specifically designed for destination management professionals and is the tourism industry’s highest individual educational achievement. The program is designed to prepare experienced destination organization professionals to leverage their experience and to apply their knowledge with a focus on vision, leadership, productivity and implementing business strategies.

“I commend Melaine on this impressive accomplishment and well-deserved honor,” said Mary Kay Vrba, President & CEO of Dutchess Tourism, Inc. “The entire Dutchess Tourism team is so proud of her dedication and determination. Her expertise has driven our destination to achieve many milestones and I’m looking forward to celebrating our future successes.”

Rottkamp has filled many roles since joining Dutchess Tourism in 2011. She was very involved in the organization’s transition to an independent 501(c)6 non-profit, as well as the rigorous process to earn accreditation through Destinations International’s Destination Marketing Accreditation Program. Her current focus is on managing DTI’s advertising and marketing efforts in addition to business support programs including National Travel & Tourism Week activities, the annual Dutchess Tourism Awards of Distinction, educational opportunities like the long-running Lunch & Learn Seminar Series, as well as the Hudson Valley Tourism Trends Conference, the Hudson Valley Film Industry Conference and others.

Rottkamp is a graduate of Syracuse University where she earned a dual degree in public relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and political science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs.

 

Photo caption: From L to R - Maura Gast, executive director of the Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau and CDME board chair; Melaine Rottkamp, Vice President of Dutchess Tourism, Inc.; Mary Kay Vrba, President & CEO of Dutchess Tourism, Inc.; Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International

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About Destinations International:

Destinations International (formerly Destination Marketing Association International) is the world’s largest resource for official destination organizations, convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs) and tourism boards. Destinations International is about serving destination marketing professionals first and foremost. Together with more than 4,700 members and partners from nearly 600 destinations in approximately 15 countries, Destinations International represents a powerful forward-thinking, collaborative association; exchanging bold ideas, connecting innovative people and elevating tourism to its highest potential. For more information, visit www.destinationsinternational.org

About Dutchess Tourism

Dutchess Tourism, Inc. is the officially designated destination marketing organization for Dutchess County and is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of Destinations International. It is an independent 501c6 non-profit organization that supports local businesses and organizations by bringing tourism dollars and investment into our community through the worldwide promotion of Dutchess County. The office is located at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie with 17 Tourist Information Centers located around Dutchess County. www.DutchessTourism.com

 

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Dutchess Tourism, Inc.,
3 Neptune Rd., Suite A11A, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Contact: Whitney Bowers, 845-463-5446
whitney@dutchesstourism.com

June 14th, 2018

Dutchess County to Host Special Olympics New York Summer Games 2019-2020

Poughkeepsie...The Special Olympics New York Summer Games will be hosted in Dutchess County from June 14-16, 2019 and on June 19-21, 2020.  More than 1,700 athletes and coaches will travel from around New York State to Vassar College and Dutchess Community College, as well as other locations throughout the county, to compete in a variety of sports.

“We are honored that Dutchess County will be hosting the Special Olympics games again and are thrilled to be working with a community that embraces our mission and vision.” said Shelly Nangle, interim president and CEO of Special Olympics New York. “The support we have received from this county has been extraordinary, and it clearly demonstrates how important the Games are to this region.”

“Dutchess County is proud to welcome back athletes, coaches, and families for the state summer games. Special Olympic athletes remind us that obstacles and challenges can be overcome if we set goals, and choose to THINK DIFFERENTLY,” said Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro. “We are grateful to Dutchess Tourism and Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce for leading these efforts again, and we look forward to providing an exceptional athletic experience to all those who attend.”

“This is a very special opportunity for Vassar College to host the Special Olympics Summer Games. Vassar’s mission is to provide access to opportunities which inspire and help individuals learn and develop in order to lead purposeful lives. We join our fellow partners and families with athletes of all abilities from across New York State in committing to making these Games as great as the athletes that will compete - and inspire us all,” said Dr. Elizabeth Bradley, president Vassar College.

Next year’s Summer Games will take place from June 14-16, 2019. Vassar College will host the games opening and closing ceremonies, featuring a ceremonial parade of athletes, motivational speeches, and local entertainment. There will also be a Law Enforcement Torch Run to Ballentine Field on the Vassar College campus. In addition, the Vassar campus will host an Olympic Village throughout the weekend, as well as a victory dance.

The athletic events which make up the three-day competition are Basketball, Bowling, Gymnastics, Powerlifting, Swimming, Tennis, Track and Field, and Volleyball.

County Executive Molinaro will serve as the Honorary Chair of the event. Also returning are the Games Organizing Committee (GOC) who help organize the various aspects of the games, secure local community support and sponsorship, and provide a unique Distinctly Dutchess feel to the Games. The Co-Chairs of the 2019 State Winter Games GOC are Mary Kay Vrba, president and CEO of Dutchess Tourism Inc., and Frank M. Castella Jr., president and CEO of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“Our community is committed to Special Olympics New York and the athletes which the organization serves. Locally, we will once again dedicate ourselves to securing financial and in-kind and support and will also recruit volunteers to help orchestrate and carry out the logistics for the weekend. We will once again offer this opportunity to the athletes at no cost to them or their families,” Mr. Castella said.

“Hosting the Summer Games has been on our minds ever since the 2017 winter games ended. This sporting event really requires a community effort in order for it to succeed, and Dutchess County has demonstrated that we can do that. From our collegiate partners, to the record number of volunteers cheering on the athletes, we will work hard once again to made the games a successful and unforgettable competition for all participants,” Vrba said.

Special Olympics is the largest amateur sports organization in the world. With 65,665 athletes, Special Olympics New York is the largest chapter in North America and the sixth-largest chapter in the world. These Winter Games are one of three annual state games and one of more than 5,000 total competitive experiences held each year throughout New York. Special Olympics New York athletes train and compete year-round in 22 sports, the Young Athletes Program and the Motor Activities Training Program – at no cost to the athletes, their families or their caregivers.

The 2019-2020 Special Olympic Summer Games will require extensive local support to be as successful as possible. Local volunteers – individuals or groups – will be needed for various jobs throughout the weekend. For more information and to register online, please visit www.specialolympicsny.org or email volunteer@nyso.org. Local businesses and organizations can also provide support through a range of sponsorship opportunities. For more information about sponsorships, contact Renee Snyder, Vice President of Development & Public Awareness, 518-203-8348 or rsnyder@nyso.org; or Teresa Gilli, Director of Development at 845-765-2497 Ext. 201 or tgilli@nyso.org

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