Farrah DobbsSOMERSET, KY ― Farrah Dobbs, who is the marketing director for The Kentucky Wildlands initiative, recently completed the first year of the Southeast Tourism Society’s (STS) Marketing College, which is a three-year program.

“Farrah already has marketing savvy, which she demonstrated when she assisted with launching our website and social media presence, and this continuing education program will ensure she is on top of trends and networking within the tourism marketing profession,” said Tammie Nazario, who directs The Kentucky Wildlands, a regional marketing program in southern and eastern Kentucky by Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, Inc.

“Farrah is passionate about sharing the vision of The Kentucky Wildlands, and I’m confident her outreach efforts will inspire communities to take advantage of this opportunity to grow our tourism industry together. To invite her to speak to your group, please call our toll-free number, which is 888-577-4339,” Nazario said.

“The Kentucky Wildlands has a story to tell,” Dobbs said. “Having pride in our hometowns and showcasing how far we’ve come to rise from adversity is a major player in my decision to become a member of this wonderful team.”

“Tourism sparks opportunities for economic development, job creation, income and the chance to show off our endless playground. We are a present just ready to be unwrapped! Big things are coming, and I am so proud to be on the ground level,” Dobbs added.

A native of Letcher County, Dobbs now lives in Somerset with her husband Shawn Dobbs and daughters Gracie and Gabriella. She is active in her community in such roles as program director for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, an ambassador to the Somerset-Pulaski Chamber of Commerce and an executive board member of the Master Musicians Festival.

From June 13-18, Dobbs attended the STS Marketing College in Macon, Ga. The STS Marketing College is a professional development program that, for one week each year, turns the facilities of a regional university, into specialized classrooms to teach travel marketing.  

Marketing College students come from numerous industry sectors such as convention and visitor bureaus, chambers of commerce, state tourism offices, attractions and hotels. More than 1,240 travel and tourism professionals have completed the full curriculum and earned certification as a Travel Marketing Professional. The enrollment for this year’s program was 244.

“The tourism industry is one of the top 10 largest employers of middle-class wage earners in the U.S, and is a job creator which has a tremendous economic impact in local communities,” said Monica Smith, president and chief executive officer of STS.  “At the same time, the tourism industry is always changing, and thus STS Marketing College was created as a way to keep travel and tourism professionals abreast of industry trends, aware of new technology, and to provide a network and resources for tourism leaders.”

Founded in 1983, STS (southeasttourism.org) is dedicated to promoting and developing tourism to and within its 14 member states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

About The Kentucky Wildlands

The Kentucky Wildlands is a regional tourism marketing initiative in 41 counties of southern and eastern Kentucky. It showcases the region’s majestic beauty and rich heritage with the goal of driving economic development. Components of the initiative include a media campaign, hospitality education, itinerary development and entrepreneur training. The initiative was launched by Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, Inc., which is a nonprofit organization, with grant funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission and Economic Development Administration.