Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro has announced his 2020 Executive Budget, to be released on October 30th, will include an investment of $2.4 million for two of Dutchess County’s critical economic engines: tourism and the arts. The County Executive made the funding announcement yesterday at the inaugural “THRIVE: Making a Career in the Arts” event hosted by Arts Mid-Hudson and Fall Kill Creative Works at The Poughkeepsie Trolley Barn.
“Arts Mid-Hudson and Dutchess Tourism are at the forefront of making Dutchess County a premier destination for visitors and, together with our economic development team, a place residents are proud to explore and call home,” said County Executive Molinaro. “As our local economy continues to grow and diversify, we see tremendous return on investment from our support of tourism and the arts. Our partnership is expanding our economy, growing good paying jobs while defining Dutchess as a community open to visitors, great destinations and amazing works of creativity and talent.”
Tourism is a vital and growing part of the local economy. Visitor spending continues to rise, increasing 6.8 percent to $642.2 million in 2018 for a ninth year of consecutive growth. Tourism employment totaled more than 11,000 local jobs and those employed in tourism-related industries experienced an overall 8 percent income growth in 2018 in Dutchess County.
Dutchess Tourism, Inc. President and CEO Mary Kay Vrba said, “County Executive Molinaro realizes the return on investment that tourism brings Dutchess County, and we laud him for his continued support of this vibrant industry that contributes in so many ways to our distinctly Dutchess way of life.”
$2.4 million in funding will be directed to Dutchess Tourism Inc. in 2020, supporting successful efforts to market Dutchess County, including a new marketing campaign, cultivating a qualified and abundant hospitality workforce, improving transportation options for travelers, and developing products and experiences to improve visitor satisfaction and to complement existing assets. Dutchess Tourism will also support several destination events in 2020, focus on attracting conferences, and add resources to support filmmakers and movie studios.
Included in the Dutchess Tourism investment is more than $235,000 for Arts Mid-Hudson, a 44 percent increase in funding, to support local arts organizations, expand audiences, enhance arts infrastructure, and support a regional partnership to hire an arts educator.
Arts Mid-Hudson Executive Director Linda Marston-Reid said, “With a $28.5 million impact that creates more than 1,000 jobs, we understand the vital role arts and culture plays in our economic vitality. County Executive Molinaro has long been a champion of the arts, and this funding pledge is the latest example of his commitment to growing a vibrant and robust arts community.”
Among the arts organizations who will receive funding support will be the Bardavon 1869 Opera House, which will expand its offerings to include sensory sensitive events in 2020 embracing the County’s “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” initiative. The Bardavon will host the first such sensory sensitive event with a special production of The Nutcracker ballet on December 13th.
Additionally, funding will continue, also through Dutchess Tourism, to support the Hudson Valley Film Commission. Film production in the region attributed to more than $29 million in direct local spending in 2018 and the impact continues with recent projects including HBO’s “I Know This Much Is True” starring Mark Ruffalo, and the sequel to Paramount Pictures’ “A Quiet Place.”