Inside the Tourism Industry – Pt 2

Follow along as we go inside the tourism industry in Buffalo County. Today we are taking a closer look inside our office here at the Kearney Visitors Bureau. Meet Sarah Focke, our Tourism & Convention Sales Manager (aka our local event planning expert). Did you know that Kearney hosts more than 1,350 events each year? That’s a lot of events and conventions and Sarah works hard behind the scenes making sure these events are a success!

Kearney is where the Heartland gathers, with more than 300,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, 11 hotels with 1,750+ rooms offering attendees a variety of options ranging from quaint limited-stay properties to full-service convention hotels. But it’s more than just facilities and amenities, Sarah and the staff of the Kearney Visitors Bureau are here to assist with whatever is needed to make the event a success. Now that is some good ‘ol Nebraska hospitality!

Sarah visiting Gerald Gentleman Station as part of her Leadership Nebraska program

Sarah has also worked on the Nebraska Lincoln Highway Historic Byway for over 10 years and was involved in the forming of the Lincoln Highway National Byway Alliance, an organization with representatives from the 13 states the route travels through. Its mission is to promote the national Lincoln Highway route.

Sarah is an Illinois native and has a BS in Travel &Tourism from the University of Nebraska Kearney.  Let’s learn more about Sarah and how local tourism impacts her role here at the Kearney Visitors Bureau.

How many years have you been working in the tourism industry?
23 years (17 of which have been here at Kearney Visitors Bureau)

Sarah with fellow Leadership Nebraska alum at an evening of Sandhill Crane viewing

What role does tourism play in your job?
I love being the destination experts for our community. Helping people make memories whether they are here for business or leisure is gratifying.

What makes Kearney such a great destination for events & conventions?
Our wonderful facilities and the awesome staff we have representing our hospitality partners.


What do you like to do in Kearney when you aren’t working?
I love running or biking our trails.

What is your favorite summer activity?
Camping in our state and kayaking down the Kearney Water Trail.

Where is your favorite place to eat/drink in town?
Suwannee (that’s Thai Cuisine for you non-locals)

What is one thing you have to pack when you go on vacation?
Business or leisure, my tennis shoes and headphones.