2017 Governor's Conference Program

43rd Annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Little Rock Marriott Hotel and Statehouse Convention Center

March 12-14, 2017

SHOWTIME! Spotlight On Arkansas Tourism!


(Note: This schedule is a tentative outline with more details to be added before the conference)

Sunday, March 12


11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Registration Box Office Open
Marriott Hotel – Manning Room (Ballroom Level on Mezzanine)

11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.: The Natural State Gift Shop Open
Marriott Hotel – Hoffman Room (Ballroom Level on Mezzanine)

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.: Hospitality Suite Open for Business
Marriott Hotel – Arkansas Ballroom
Courtesy of: Arkansas Broadcasters Association

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.: Opening Reception & Early Bird Party
Robinson Center – William Grant Still Ballroom overlooking the Arkansas River
Hosted by: Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau

8:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.: Hospitality Suite Open for Business
Marriott Hotel – Arkansas Ballroom
Courtesy of: Arkansas Broadcasters Association



Monday, March 13


7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.: Registration Open
Marriott Hotel – Manning Room (Ballroom Level on Mezzanine)

7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.: The Natural State Gift Shop Open

Marriott Hotel – Hoffman Room (Ballroom level on Mezzanine)

8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.: CURTAIN UP! Opening Ceremony

Marriott Hotel – Grand Ballroom Foyer on the Mezzanine
Featuring: Miss Arkansas 2017 Savannah Skidmore; State Parks, Recreation & Travel Commissioners; and members of the Arkansas Hospitality Association.

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.: Act One – GENERAL SESSION: “Marketing To The International Traveler”
Marriott Hotel Ballroom – Salons B & C
Featuring: Anne Madison, Brand USA

10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.: FIRST INTERMISSION – Refreshment Break
Marriott Hotel Ballroom – Salon A
Sponsored by: Arkansas Living Magazine

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.: CONCURRENT SESSIONS

A. “Make Your Community Bicycle Friendly”
Marriott Hotel Ballroom – Salon B
Featuring: Kalene Griffith, President of Visit Bentonville and SPRTC Commissioner; and David Wright, Bentonville Parks and Recreation Director
Sponsored by: TripAdvisor

B. “Festival Planning 101”
Marriott Hotel Ballroom – Salon C
Featuring: Panel discussion with Arkansas Festival and Event Association representatives – Julie Murray with World Championship Cardboard Boat Races in Heber Springs, Deanna Korte with Riverfest in Little Rock, and Dan Smith with El Dorado Festivals and Events.
Moderator: Jenna Friday, AFEA Executive Director

C. “Guerrilla Marketing of Little Rock’s Southside Main Street District (SoMa)”
Marriott Hotel Conference Center – Conway Lecture Hall
Featuring: Anita Davis, Developer of Southside Main Street District in downtown Little Rock
Sponsored by: AARP Media

Noon – 1:45 p.m.: TOURISM HALL OF FAME LUNCHEON
Statehouse Convention Center – Wally Allen Ballroom D
Featuring: Tourism Hall of Fame Inductions
Speaker: Gabe Holmstrom, Executive Director of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership, on “The Clinton Library and Its Impact on Downtown Growth”

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.: CONCURRENT SESSIONS

A. “Nature Tourism in the Natural State”
Marriott Hotel Ballroom – Salon B
Featuring: Panel discussion with Scott Simon, Executive Director of the Arkansas Nature Conservancy; Jay Miller, former Head of Interpretation for Arkansas State Parks; and Dr. Dan Scheiman of Audubon Arkansas.
Moderator: Kelly Farrell, Director of Interpretation for Arkansas State Parks

B. “Communications Workshop”
Marriott Hotel Ballroom – Salon C
Featuring: The Tourism Communications team offers best practices on webpage listings, photography and social media.

C. “Tourism is Economic Development, Too”
Marriott Hotel Conference Center – Conway Lecture Hall
Featuring: Mike Preston, Executive Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission
Sponsored by: AARP Media

3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.: SECOND INTERMISSION – Refreshment Break
Marriott Hotel Ballroom – Salon A
Sponsored by: AJR Media Group

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.: Act Two – GENERAL SESSION: “Destination Visioning: The Success Story of Greenville, SC”
Marriott Ballroom – Salons B & C
Featuring: Chris Stone, President, Visit Greenville, SC

5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.: ANNUAL ARKANSAS TOURISM DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION AUCTION
Statehouse Convention Center – Wally Allen Ballrooms A, B, C & E
Featuring: The Tony Awards of silent and live auction items, refreshments and main stage entertainment.
Master of Ceremonies: SPRTC Commissioner David Bazzel
Auctioneer: Hunter Sims
Entertainment: Pianists Drew Jansen & Jimmy Martin
Refreshments sponsored by: Southern Living Magazine

7:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.: Hospitality Suite Open for Business
Marriott Hotel – Arkansas Ballroom
Courtesy of: Arkansas Broadcasters Association



Tuesday, March 14


7:00 a.m. – Noon: Registration Box Office Open
Marriott Hotel – Manning Room (Ballroom Level on Mezzanine)

7:00 a.m. – Noon: The Natural State Gift Shop Open
Marriott Hotel – Hoffman Room (Ballroom Level on Mezzanine)

7:45 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.: BROADWAY BOUND BREAKFAST & KEYNOTE SPEAKER
Statehouse Convention Center – Wally Allen Ballroom D
Featuring: Roger Dow, President & CEO of the U.S. Travel Association

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.: CONCURRENT SESSIONS

A. “Communications Workshop”
Marriott Hotel Ballroom – Salon B
Featuring: The Tourism Communications team offers best practices on webpage listings, photography and social media.

B. “Marketing to a Diverse Crowd”
Marriott Hotel Ballroom – Salon C
Featuring: Panel discussion with Pam Jones & Diamond Lewis of Culturally Connected Communications; Miguel Fuentevilla & Enrique Fuentevilla of Cinco Media Group; and Dr. Catherine Crisp, Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Moderator: Maura Yancy, Publisher of Hola Arkansas
Sponsored by: TripAdvisor

C. “Developing A Film Festival For Your Community”
Marriott Hotel Conference Center – Conway Lecture Hall
Featuring: Panel discussion with Courtney Pledger, Executive Director of the Hot Springs Film Festival; Casey Sanders, Student Selects Program Director at Arkansas Education Television Network; and Laura Barrow, Director of the El Dorado Film Fest.
Moderator: Christopher Crane, AEDC Film Commissioner

10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.: THIRD INTERMISSION – Refreshment Break
Marriott Hotel Ballroom – Salon A
Sponsored by: West Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.: Act Three – GENERAL SESSION: “Halo Effect of Destination Marketing on Economic Development”
Marriott Hotel Ballrooms – Salons B & C
Featuring: Amir Eylon, President of Longwoods International USA, Inc.

Noon – 2:00 p.m.: HENRY AWARDS LUNCHEON & GRAND FINALE
Statehouse Convention Center – Wally Allen Ballroom D
Featuring: The Honorable Asa Hutchinson, 46th Governor of Arkansas and Miss Arkansas 2017 Savannah Skidmore, presenting the annual Henry Awards for excellence in Arkansas Tourism.