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Get those late summer travelers to your property!

8/29/2014 10:30:00 AM


Have a vacancy? Want more people to come to your door? You can bring more business to your table right now. The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism is making a late summer push, sending consumers to our Deals and Coupons section to take advantage of end-of-summer opportunities before the season's over. Let's make those decisions easier for visitors to The Natural State who are looking to put together an outstanding trip. Now’s the time to take advantage of this free program to share what you have to offer.

It doesn't matter if you’re a hotelier looking to fill rooms, a restaurant manager who’d like to serve up more appetizers, a unique shop hoping to entice art lovers and shopaholics or an attraction owner who wants to encourage more guests to come visit – there’s a Deal or Coupon meant for you. Some suggestions:

  1. Give a dollar or two off admission to your location.
  2. Combine a hotel stay with an added bonus (such as a bottle of wine or a souvenir).
  3. Partner with other industry members to create packages to make your customer’s selection of activities, dining and lodging simpler.

Remember, it doesn't have to be a discount. Tourists want suggestions on what to discover on their journey; by creating coupons and packaging lodging, attraction and dining options together, you're offering easy options for these guests. It's a convenient way to make planning easier for visitors, and when a vacation is easy to book, they're more likely to make that decision.

To enter an offer into Deals and Coupons, head to and enter your partner login. Follow the directions, and soon travelers will be heading your way to redeem that special and spend time (and dollars!) at your property.

So Much Happening This Summer in the Natural State

7/18/2014 3:18:00 PM

Greetings Industry Insiders!

Don’t be fooled by today’s temperate weather – summer is heating up in Arkansas. Right now, festivals and events are booming while people are taking advantage of our lakes and rivers during these long days. Next month, we’ll celebrate the grand opening of Historic Dyess Colony: The Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash. In September, we follow up with the groundbreaking of the much-anticipated U.S. Marshals Museum in Fort Smith on the 24th, and the introduction of a new arts and culture festival, ACANSA, in Central Arkansas the final weekend of the month.

There are a lot of ways you can help make this a great season for yourself, your property and for Arkansas. Click through our links below to add your voice to a new bicycle plan by the Highway Department and to help push the Pig Trail Scenic Byway into USA Today’s 10 Best Motorcycle Rides. And don’t forget, it’s time to get your paperwork together and apply for feasibility studies for new attractions in your area through a grant provided by our department.

Remember your sunscreen!


Joe David Rice

Feasibility Study Deadline Approaching

The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism’s Tourism Attraction Feasibility Study Matching Grant Program deadline is quickly approaching. Incorporated cities and counties are eligible to apply for financial assistance for studies to determine the feasibility of potential tourism attractions. The deadline to apply is Friday, July 25 at 5:00 p.m. Read more here.

Pick the Pig Trail!

USA Today is currently soliciting votes for the top 10 motorcycle trips in the country. Among the choices: the Arkansas Highway 23 section known as the Pig Trail Scenic Byway. This rollicking stretch from north of Ozark to near Fayetteville is popular with motorcycle enthusiasts across the nation. Help raise the Pig Trail to the top spot by clicking here and entering your vote.

Speak Up About Bicycling

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department wants your input! The existing bicycle and pedestrian transportation plan adopted in 1998 is being revised. The new proposal will establish where and how new trails and facilities will be built for these users. AHTD has developed a questionnaire to help mold this project. Please click here to participate.

ACANSA Festival to Celebrate the Arts

The ACANSA Arts Festival will make its debut in Little Rock and North Little Rock September 24-28. It will feature 26 performances and eight special events. “Acansa” is a term neighboring tribes used to describe the ancient Quapaw native Americans, meaning “people of the southern place.” The ACANSA festival will in turn be a Southern celebration of the arts.

The festival was inspired by Spotelo USA, an arts festival in Charleston, South Carolina, now in its 38th year with over 60,000 ticket holders. Festival organizers look forward to ACANSA’s positive impact on the community, as it will bring a boost in business to hotels, restaurants and merchants.

The full schedule of events can be found online at

Duck Hunters Set All-Time Record

Waterfowl hunting last season set a record in Arkansas, with the number of hunters at an all-time high, according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Hunting participation is measured by the number of duck stamps sold. For the 2013-2014 waterfowl hunting season, 97,117 stamps were sold in Arkansas, beating the 2002-2003 season record 95,863.

Forty percent of the stamp sales were for non-residents, indicating out-of-state hunters continue to migrate to Arkansas for waterfowl activities. Read more here.

Wright House Already Drawing Visitors

The Bachman Wilson House, purchased by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in January, is attracting onlookers and architects who are eager to see the finished product.

The project, currently in phase one, includes building a road on the landscaped grounds of Crystal Bridges to serve the construction traffic. During phase two, the basement and slab will be constructed.

The 1950s Frank Lloyd Wright house, transported from New Jersey, is currently in a Bentonville warehouse awaiting phase three of the reconstruction process. In October, onlookers will be able to watch the reconstruction of the house, board by board. Read more here.

We're Listening To You

7/16/2014 1:57:00 PM

Greetings Industry Insiders!

Our state is booming with pride. From an expansion to the Delta Heritage Trail State Park to a boost in inquiries about the legendary U.S. Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves. Whether visitors are here for the summer, passing through or enjoying a ride on one of our motorcycle routes, Arkansas is the perfect spot to unwind.

Read the latest industry news below!


Joe David Rice

The Rejuvenation Listening Tour Continues

Great feedback is coming in from participants in our 2014 Arkansas Rejuvenation Listening Tour. At each stop, we’re sharing what’s ahead for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism’s Fall/Winter campaign and listening to what you have to say about our new Destination Marketing Area plan and how we’re promoting tourism inside and outside of Arkansas. You have two more chances to catch this tour. Join us!

Today at 9:30 a.m.

Benton Events Center
17322 I-30 North
Benton, AR 72019

Today at 2:30 p.m.

Arkansas Convention Center
5200 Convention Plaza Drive
Texarkana, AR 71854


Show Caves in Arkansas Open For Business

Eight cave properties in the state of Arkansas offer a cool retreat from summer’s scorching temperatures. Though the US Forest Service has determined caves on its lands will remain closed through 2019 to prevent the spread of white-nose syndrome in bats, these show caves are open. Read more about these subterranean tourist sites and what they have to offer, here.

Interest in Bass Reeves Aids Fort Smith Tourism

In the months leading up to the unveiling of the U.S. Marshals Museum, opening September 24, Fort Smith has seen a boost in interest around the historically resurrected 1800s U.S. Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves. In June, the Travel Channel aired a “Monumental Mysteries” piece on Reeves. Inquiries from potential visitors quadrupled this May in comparison to last year. May also brought 12,879 visitors to the Fort Smith National Historic Site; 4,000 more people than last year. City leaders are also marketing Fort Smith’s convention and group travel opportunities. Efforts led to the creation of a three-minute video, which will be posted on the bureau’s website soon. Read more here.

The Natural State a Go-To for Motorcyclists

In recent years, the Department has promoted Arkansas’s scenic highways to motorcyclists, leading to mass exposure for the trails and cycling opportunities in The Natural State. Since the production of the “Arkansas Motorcycling Guide,” more than 4,000 people have requested the book. Arkansas is highly sought after for its friendly people and beautiful routes. Read more here.

Little Rock Wins ArtPlace America Grant

ArtPlace America granted Little Rock $345,000 to improve its “Creative Corridor” on Main Street. Out of 1,300 applicants for the grant, Little Rock was one of only 55 communities chosen. The grant will be applied to adding streetscaping, signage and artwork. Additionally, officials will relocate the symphony and ballet to Main Street with storefront practice space where passersby can watch the dancers at the barre. Read more here.

Delta Heritage Trail State Park Extension Planned

Plans to extend the Delta Heritage Trail State Park were approved in May by the Arkansas State Highway Commission. Arkansas Highway Commissioner Robert S. Moore, Jr. stated, “With the terminus in Arkansas City, Parks and Tourism plans include a trailhead facility which will highlight area recreational and historical points of interest, as well as restroom facilities for visitors and campers.” The project is part of the national Rails to Trails program, which works to create a nationwide network of trails of former rail lines to provide recreational opportunities for communities across the country. Read more here.

Site Work Begins For Little Rock Outlet Mall

Construction is underway for The Outlets, set to open next summer. Little Rock will welcome 75 outlet stores spanning 325,000 square feet. Not only will this bring new stores to the area, but it will also support around 1,000 jobs, with projected sales reaching $100 million. Read more here.

Feasibility Study Matching Grant Program Deadline Approaching

The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism’s Tourism Attraction Feasibility Study Matching Grant Program deadline is quickly approaching. Incorporated cities and counties are eligible to apply for financial assistance for the study. The program is restricted to funding tourism attraction feasibility studies. The deadline to apply for the grant is July 25 at 5:00 p.m. Read more here.

DON'T FORGET -- 2014 Rejuvenation Tour

7/7/2014 3:25:00 PM

REMEMBER: The 2014 Rejuvenation Listening Tour is coming to town this week.

Make sure you attend one of eight meetings designed to enlighten and inform you about what’s ahead for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism’s Fall/Winter campaign. You’ll have a unique opportunity to share with us your experiences, concerns and ideas on our new Destination Marketing Areas plan.

Join us at one of these locations:

Tuesday, July 8th; 9-10:30 a.m.
Van Buren Hampton Inn
1916 N. 6th Street
Van Buren, AR 72956

Tuesday, July 8th; 2-3:30 p.m.
Chapel Room, Jones Center
922 E. Emma Avenue
Springdale, AR 72764

Wednesday, July 9th; 9-10:30 a.m.
First Federal Room, Durand Center
North Arkansas College Campus
Harrison, AR 72601

Wednesday, July 9th; 2-3:30 p.m.
White Oak Room, Ozark Folk Center
1032 Park Avenue
Mountain View, AR 72560

Thursday, July 10th; 9-10:30 a.m.
Meeting Room, Holiday Inn
1121 E. Main
Blytheville, AR 72315

Thursday, July 10th; 2-3:30 p.m.
Classroom 306, UAMS East
1393 Arkansas 242
Helena-West Helena, AR 72390

Tuesday, July 15th; 9:30-11 a.m.
Benton Event Center
17322 I-30 North
Benton, AR 72019

Tuesday, July 15th; 2:30-4 p.m.
Arkansas Convention Center
5200 Convention Plaza Drive
Texarkana, AR 71854

Important information will be delivered at these meetings -- along with tips on broadening your depth on the internet and advice on how you can fully participate in our project. We'll also be sharing this presentation on our Arkansas Industry Insider page for those who can't come -- but if you don't attend, you'll miss out on good contacts, a fun presentation and great door prizes!

I'll see you on the road!

Joe David Rice

Treat Yourself in Arkansas!

6/26/2014 11:08:00 AM

Greetings Industry Insiders!

The days are longer, and the weather is warmer. It is the perfect time to travel! Research from the Travel Effect shows that people are happier and less stressed if they take advantage of earned time off. With a wealth of natural beauty, clean lakes and stunning views, Arkansas is a great place to visit!

Read the latest industry news to learn more about the Travel Effect, a local brewery’s recent expansion and more!


Joe David Rice

SAVE THE DATE: Rejuvenation Tour 2014

In November, representatives from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism along with agency partners Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods and Aristotle, Inc. went around the state for face-to-face gatherings with colleagues in the tourism industry. The program was so popular, we’re doing it again! Our Rejuvenation Tour 2014 hits the road in July. Make plans to join us and learn more about the fresh new customer-friendly approach we’re taking while marketing Arkansas as a rejuvenation destination for stressed travelers.

We’ll be visiting these cities:
Van Buren – July 8th, 9 a.m.
Springdale – July 8th, 2 p.m.
Harrison – July 9th, 9 a.m.
Mountain View – July 9th, 2 p.m.
Blytheville – July 10th, 9 a.m.
Helena-West Helena – July 10th, 2 p.m.
Benton – July 15th, 9:30 a.m.
Texarkana – July 15th, 2:30 p.m.

The Travel Effect Encourages More Travel, Relaxation

According to the U.S. Travel Association, taking earned time off, traveling and taking time to recharge significantly relieves stress levels and increases happiness. This phenomenon has been dubbed the “Travel Effect.” Research shows that people lose an average of 3.2 personal days a year, equaling more than 400 million unused days. If employees took advantage of every personal day, their economic output, stress levels and happiness would be so improved that U.S. economic output would be increased by $160 billion, generating 1.2 million jobs. For more information, reference the infographic below or visit the Travel Effect website. And encourage people to take vacations and #VisitArkansas!

Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Events Deadline Approaching

The Southeast Tourism Society is now accepting nominations for its list of Top 20 Events. Designated events published in the Top 20 list stand out as the best in the Southeast. To qualify, events must have at least 1,000 people in attendance, be in at least the third year in existence and submit a $20 nomination fee per event. The deadline is Friday, July 11 for events in January, February and March of 2015. To nominate your event, click here.

Rohwer Preservation Projects Get National Grants

The National Park Service has awarded projects in Arkansas close to a quarter-million dollars to preserve sites that served as Japanese internment camps during World War II. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has received a $220,000 grant for its cemetery conservation at the Rohwer Relocation Center where over 8,000 Japanese Americans were held during the war. This is a step toward educating Americans, particularly in Arkansas, about the injustices of the confinement program during the war. For more information, click here.

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