January 2017: Kara Dense ‘95

Photo of Kara Dense

Kara D. Dense has accepted an appointment to the West Virginia Tourism Commission after having been selected by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. Dense will join the private-public board that oversees the West Virginia Division of Tourism.


A seasoned tourism professional, Dense currently serves as executive director for the Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), headquartered in Lewisburg, West Virginia. In her current role, Dense manages and oversees the destination marketing organization for one of West Virginia’s premier leisure and meetings destinations, including The Greenbrier, historic downtown Lewisburg, and countless other attractions.


“We are so proud of Kara’s leadership, not only for the Greenbrier Valley, but now the state of West Virginia,” said Mike Kidd, president, Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Board of Directors. “In just nine short years, Kara has guided and supported our tourism industry, elevating it to one of the top industries in this area. We are confident she will be a great addition to the tourism commission.”


Prior to joining the CVB in 2007, Dense served the City of Gatlinburg Department of Tourism and Convention Center in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in various roles including convention sales manager, visitor services manager, and director of sales over a seven-year period. Dense has been an industry leader for tourism throughout the south during her career, managing marketing and sales efforts for destinations from West Virginia to Tennessee. She has served on the boards for the Smoky Mountain Tourism Council, the Southeast Tourism Society, the West Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association, and the West Virginia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus.


Dense completed continuing education as a Travel Marketing Professional through the Southeast Tourism Society in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2015, and in 2012 was named to the Southeast Tourism Society’s “40 for the Future: Travel’s Leading Talent.” In 2010, she was a recipient of The State Journal’s “Generation Next: 40 Under 40” award, and is a Certified Tennessee Tourism professional. Dense earned a bachelor of science in travel industry management from Concord in 1995.

Congratulations Kara on this outstanding achievement!