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American Bus Association Names Three Arkansas Events To North America's 100 Best Events For 2011


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Fireworks over the State Capitol
Fireworks over the State Capitol
    Trail of Holiday Lights at the Sherwood Forest
Trail of Holiday Lights at the Sherwood Forest
       
 
Riverfront Blues
Riverfront Blues
    St. Patrick.s Day Parade in Hot Springs
St. Patrick.s Day Parade in Hot Springs
   
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Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism


The Arkansas Trail of Holiday Lights during December, the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Hot Springs, and the Fort Smith Riverfront Blues Fest have been designated as three of the American Bus Association’s Top 100 Events in North America for 2011. They were chosen by an experienced expert tourism industry selection committee. Inclusion in the Top 100 list, published as a supplement to the September/October issue of Destinations magazine, indicates the Arkansas Trail of Holiday Lights, the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and the Fort Smith Riverfront Blues Fest offer excellent entertainment value to both tour groups and individual travelers from around the world, according to ABA.

With the release of the American Bus Association's 2011 Top 100 Events in North America, ABA celebrates 29 years of the program. What began as a way for motorcoach operators to incorporate new product into their itineraries has grown to one of the most sought-after lists by travel professionals, motorcoach operators and the general public.

"The attractiveness of the Holiday Lights, Riverfront Blues Fest and St. Patrick’s Day Parade as don't-miss entertainment value is only part of why their selection this year is such a distinction for them,” said Peter J. Pantuso, CTIS, ABA's president and CEO. "The real news here is that the Trail of Holiday Lights, Blues Fest and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade have been recognized as potential magnets for tourism dollars, at a time when reenergizing domestic tourism is so important to our spirit and our economy. The honor gives these events an important boost in visibility among professional tour planners."

According to studies completed by researchers at The George Washington University and Dunham and Associates, one overnight visit by a motorcoach group can leave from $5,000 to more than $13,000 in a local destination's economy. Those dollars are spent on lodging, meals, admissions, fees, shopping, souvenirs, services and local taxes.

"Motorcoach groups spend more and stay longer,” Pantuso said. “That's why the Trail of Holiday Lights, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and Riverfront Blues Fest are truly local economic assets. There is no better way to jump-start tourism than to attract motorcoach groups to great events and convince them to extend their stay."

ABA's 2011 Top 100 Events Selection Committee selected the Arkansas Trail of Holiday Lights, Riverfront Blues Fest and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade from among a record number of more than 650 event nominations submitted by ABA members. Judges considered the event's broad appeal, its accessibility to motorcoaches and skill at handling large groups, and a variety of other relevant criteria.

The Top 100 Events list is available online at www.buses.org/top100. For more information contact Renee Robison, group travel manager for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, at 501-682-1219 or renee.robison@arkansas.gov.

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Submitted by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, 501-682-7606
E-mail: info@arkansas.com

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ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF PARKS & TOURISM
1 Capitol Mall, 4A-900 - Little Rock, Arkansas 72201 | 1-800-872-1259 or (501) 682-7777 (V/TT)
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