The Henry Awards Ceremony began at the 7th annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism in 1981 and has become an important part of this gathering of tourism leaders and one of the most prestigious tourism industry awards in Arkansas. Recognizing those individuals, businesses, and organizations which have distinguished themselves during the past year is now a tradition. As such, it is fitting that the name of the award has a solid historical base.
The Henry Awards honor Henri de Tonti, the man historians consider to be one of the first “Arkansas Travelers.” An Italian adventurer, Tonti was a trusted friend and lieutenant of the French explorer Sieur de La Salle. After La Salle granted him extensive land and trading concessions in the lower Mississippi River Valley, Tonti sent several men in 1686 to build a trading post near the confluence of the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers. This “Poste de Arkansea,” as it was then called, or Arkansas Post, became the first permanent settlement in the lower Mississippi region and the first center of Arkansas hospitality for the people who passed that way.
See the menu on the left to nominate a Henry Award candidate or view past recipients of these honored tourism industry awards.