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Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau hires new president

The Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau has announced that it has hired David Zunker as its new president.

Zunker has a professional background that includes senior management positions at the Columbia, S.C., Convention and Visitors Bureau, resorts in South Carolina and Virginia, and tourism offices in Virginia and Minnesota.

Zunker, currently vice president of the Columbia, S. C. Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, has directed a convention and meetings sales staff that quadrupled room night bookings in five years; helped to develop an interactive Internet marketing strategy; and coordinated strategic marketing, community relations and public relations programs.

He replaces Gavin Landry, who left the bureau in July to accept a new management position of senior vice president, sales and market development with the New York Racing Association.

I'm absolutely ecstatic about coming to Saratoga Springs, Zunker said from his Columbia, S.C., office. He said many people have questioned his move from the consistently warm climate of South Carolina to the four-season environment of upstate New York " especially when the trend is to do just the opposite.

"But once I start describing Saratoga Springs, they know exactly why I'm doing it," he said.

Zunker has ties to the area. He is married to Elizabeth Butler, a graduate of Skidmore College and a kindergarten teacher at Heathwood Episcopal School in Columbia. The couple has two daughters: Emma, a 2007 graduate of Randolph Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, Va., and Becca, a senior at Clemson University in Clemson, S.C.

Zunker said his daughters are not making the move with him and his wife, but are looking forward to visiting, the more they hear about it.

"I think he's wonderful," said Marianne Barker, chairwoman of the SCTB board of directors. "We're thrilled to have found such a great candidate so quickly."

Barker said the search wasn't that easy.

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