Prettiest Painted Places in America
The Paint Quality Institute is conducting a competition to find the “Prettiest Painted Places in America.” Through Prettiest Painted Places, the Paint Quality Institute is searching for American towns and neighborhoods that have exceptional community-wide “curb appeal” due to their beautiful exterior paint color schemes. Anyone can nominate their favorite town. All you have to do is go to http://blog.paintquality.com/ppp/ and upload 15 images of attractively painted homes or buildings in the area you are nominating and provide a brief description of the community. The deadline is August 31. The winners will be announced in October. Get out there and vote! Let’s get Arkansas’s beautiful towns recognized!
Siloam Springs Makes Best Small Towns List
Smithsonianmag.com named Siloam Springs one of the 20 Best Small Towns in America. The website set out on its quest for the best by focusing on towns with populations less than 25,000 with high concentrations of museums, historic sites, botanic gardens, resident orchestras, art galleries and other cultural assets common to larger cities.
The folks at Smithsonianmag.com think that any place worth traveling to should have one quality above others: culture, and they found it in Siloam Springs. The article describes some of the cultural draws of this quaint Ozarks town: "The Sager Creek Arts Center, Siloam Springs Museum and Christian John Brown University, founded in a cornfield in 1919, bring exhibitions, concerts and lectures to a town that could model for a postage stamp commemorating the American heartland."
Susan Spano and Aviva Shen, who created the top 20 list, thought it was encouraging to find culture in small towns. They wrote, "It reinforces the truth that big cities and institutions per se don’t produce creative works; individuals do. And being reminded of that is fun."
For a complete list of the 20 Best Small Towns in America, visit Smithonianmag.com.
Microbrewery Granted Access to Hot Springs Bathhouse
The National Park Service has granted limited access for a microbrewery to operate in the Superior Bathhouse. The Park Service announced it is negotiating a long-term lease with Vapor Valley Spirits. The company hopes to use Hot Springs’ thermal waters to brew beer, as well as non-alcoholic drinks.
Josie Fernandez, Hot Springs National Park superintendent, says the company can begin brewing after a lease is finalized. Under authorization granted this month, the company can use the bathhouse for special events and retail sales until the lease is signed. The Sentinel-Record reports the microbrewery plans to open in 2013.
The Superior Bathhouse, which opened in 1916, offered hydrotherapy and massage services before closing in 1983.
Fall 2012 Magazine Co-op Opportunities Are Available
Magazine co-op advertising opportunities are still available to the industry in key consumer and group tour magazines this fall.
Mount Magazine State Park participated in several magazine co-ops that were available during Arkansas's Spring/Summer Campaign. The park credits its co-op involvement for an increase in inquiries this spring. "After placing a 1/6-page ad in the May 2012 Southern Living co-op section, our phone started ringing off the wall. Southern Living readers definitely noticed Mount Magazine's ad and responded," said Becky Bariola, superintendent of Mount Magazine State Park.
Mount Magazine is scheduled for more co-op ads during the Fall/Winter Campaign.
To learn more about the magazine co-op advertising opportunities that are available now, please e-mail Linda Scroggin, 501-975-7285, or Lauren Bridges, 501-975-7219.
Secret Shoppers Will Rate Arkansas Travel Experience
The Natural State will host millions of visitors during the next few months, and a Welcome to Arkansas secret shopper program begins this week to ensure their travel experience is as good as it can be.
Secret shopper teams will be traveling to various Welcome to Arkansas communities across the state to rate front-line workers on their area knowledge and guest service skills.
Scott Sudduth, the Welcome to Arkansas program coordinator, will follow up with the communities that have been shopped and report on findings to help them improve.
"If you’re one of the 85 communities participating in the Welcome to Arkansas program, we could be heading your way, so brush up on your skills and let’s have a great tourism season," said Sudduth, who anticipates positive results. For more information on the Welcome to Arkansas program, please visit Arkansas Industry Insider.
"More Fun Per Gallon" Campaign Underway
Tourism industry members from across Arkansas are taking advantage of the "More Fun Per Gallon" summer advertising campaign. Participants are partnering with the Department of Parks and Tourism on radio spots to promote special packages designed to encourage residents of Arkansas and neighboring markets to save on gas by staying closer to home this summer.
Representatives from Parks and Tourism have been traveling the state presenting program details. The next meeting is scheduled for the Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, June 20 at 11 a.m.
Participating communities are offering a variety of special promotions. Eureka Springs has cleverly created "More Fun Per Gallon" and "Most Fun" packages featuring various levels of amenities bundled together with savings ranging from nearly $200 to $400 dollars.
Adding a package is easy and free, and you can find more information here. For additional information for utilizing the radio co-op offer, contact Brandi Childress at 501-975-7272.
Research Shows Benefits of Park Interpreters
A University of Arkansas researcher found in a study of five national and state parks that interpretative programs play a large role in preserving the cultural and natural resources of a region.
Gregory Benton, an assistant professor of recreation and sport management, conducted three studies that demonstrated elements of a concept called "pono." The Hawaiian word, which is not well known in the United States, refers to living in harmony with the environment.
In Arkansas, Benton studied interpretive programs at Fort Smith National Historic Site, Lake Fort Smith State Park and Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area. He examined park programs in New Mexico and Georgia as well.
Benton found that three elements of pono were present in the park programs he studied: the preservation of indigenous culture, modifying recreation behavior to maintain natural resource quality and exposing children to good values through interpretive immersion in nature. Benton presented his findings at the National Association of Interpreters International Conference last month in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.