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Convention and Visitors Bureau gains new voice

November 01, 1999

Bethany LathamBy ANDREA BROWN-HURLEY / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer




It helps to be local.

Smithsburg native Bethany Latham took over Sept. 28 as the director of communications at the Hagerstown/Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Her familiarity with the area has been an asset to the job of promoting tourism, said Latham, 26.

A 1991 graduate of Smithsburg High School, she earned her bachelor's degree in public relations and journalism from Towson State University in 1995.

A temporary agency posting then led Latham to the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, where she worked her way up from an office assistant to marketing director, she said.

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She held that position for the past three years.

Her work with the MSO involved "a lot of gear shifting," said Latham, who handled everything from ticket sales to concert season brochures.

"I really wanted to get back into the PR vein," she said.

Latham made many valuable community contacts while working for the MSO, and said she will build upon that contact base in her new job.

She is expanding her media list to include more regional contacts, preparing the CVB's quarterly newsletter, and helping to plan a video project to promote the area, Latham said.

She will handle the calendar of events for the county, and will assist with overhauling the CVB's Web site and compiling the Visitor's Guide- the award-winning status of which she hopes to continue, she said.

A big perk of her new job is the chance to travel, and Latham said she is looking forward to a January business trip to Colorado Springs, Colo.

Information gleaned from such tourism-related seminars will give Latham and edge in one of the most challenging aspects of her new post - promoting eco-tourism, she said.

Latham expects success due to the area's many natural resources and the accessibility to outdoor activities such as hiking and biking.

Those outdoor pursuits are among her personal favorites, said Latham, who also enjoys visiting the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts and attending the symphony at The Maryland Theatre.

She spent more time behind the curtain in the theater at Towson State than she did in the mass communications department, she said.

Latham took a number of acting classes, but rarely auditioned for parts, she said. Instead, she assisted with production.

But she wasn't always behind the scenes.

A "movie buff," Latham landed extra roles in two big-screen flicks, she said.

She was a concert-goer in a John Waters film and a Cleveland Indians baseball fan in "Major League II," she said.

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