Tourism Development Manager Kristine Puckett reported that the Regional Tourist Association Annual Meeting is taking place Aug. 22. She said the Feasibility Study Grant deadline is July 25. The new Living in Arkansas magazine was shown to the Commission. The magazine has Helena residents Nick and Julia Malinowski on the cover. For more information contact Kristine Puckett at 501-324-1926.
The Commission was given information about the Agritourism Summit coming to Little Rock in November and told about the importance of agritourism in the state. Tour operators are bringing in 17 Brazilian guests to the state to see rice and soybean fields. Group Travel is working to find key farms for this with the help of Commissioner Cindy Smith and local CVBs. The Pig Trail Scenic Byway is currently in the top 3 for Best Motorcycle Trip in a USA Today poll. Group Travel has an upcoming tradeshow, the South Central Motorcoach Association, in Shreveport in August. For more details contact Tracy Morales at 501-682-1219.
Rhen Wilson filled in for Aristotle CEO Marla Johnson-Norris and presented information on Arkansas website development updates to the Commission. June had 652,475 visitor sessions on Arkansas.com. The new email platform ExactTarget, which can help create more customized content, was discussed. There were 2,081,706 page views for Arkansas.com for June. 54 percent of traffic to Arkansas.com for June was from mobile users. Arkansas is number 6 in Market Share nationwide. Contact Aristotle CEO Marla Johnson-Norris at 501-374-4638 for more details.
CJRW Marketing Report
An outdoors/hunting presence has been added to the Online Media Plan as requested. A presence on Outdoor Life and Field & Stream is recommended to reach a broad audience. The Hunting/Watchable Wildlife Creative and late Summer Value Campaign was presented to the Commission as well as a video on Helena-West Helena and Sonny Payne, the longtime host of King Biscuit Time in Helena. For more information contact Joy Phillips at 501-975-7251.
State Parks staff provided preliminary recommendations for the CY 15 Fees and Rates for Arkansas State Parks. Greg Butts reported that the legal notice has been published in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette with the public comment period commencing July 8 – August 7. The public meeting will be held at the State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission meeting on August 21 at 11:00 am at the Bois d’arc Conference Center of the Ozark Folk Center, 1032 Park Avenue, Mountain View, AR to receive any public comments regarding the proposed fees and rates. For additional information contact Greg Butts at 501-682-7743.
Randy Roberson provided the Capital Improvements Progress Quarterly Report advising that $50 million in projects are completed or underway. Several projects completed in the fourth quarter of FY 14 include: Village Creek State Park – construction of The Ridges Clubhouse and remote restroom; Historic Washington State Park – renovation/repairs to the 1874 Courthouse; Delta Heritage Trail State Park – construction of seven additional miles of trail, trailhead, parking and barrier-free access improvements at Barton Visitor Center and interpretive kiosk and restroom; Woolly-Hollow State Park – construction of a nine mile mountain bike trail to include parking, trailhead and signage; and Ozark Folk Center – Phase II Craft Village Walkway improvements completed. For additional information contact Randy Roberson at 501-682-1633.