Arkansas Industry Insider Newsletter

Dyess Colony Restoration Gets $350K Boost

Arkansas State University has received a $350,000 grant for the next phase of the restoration of the Historic Dyess Colony Administration Building. The grant is the third the university has received from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council for the project.

Once renovated, the administration building will include exhibits on the history of the Dyess Colony and lifestyles of typical colonist families.

The Dyess Colony is perhaps best known as the home of Johnny Cash. Exhibits showcasing the impact growing up in Dyess had on Cash and his music will be housed in the building as well.

The administration building is a part of a larger restoration project, which includes the renovation of Cash’s boyhood home, rebuilding the Colony Center, re-creating the Cash family farmstead and providing related visitor services.

The fundraising drive for the restoration project began last August with an inaugural Johnny Cash Music Festival, which sold out with more than 7,000 in attendance. Tickets for the second Johnny Cash Music Festival, to be held Oct. 5, 2012, at Arkansas State University’s Convocation Center, are on sale and can be purchased at  Organizers recently announced that among this year’s performers are Willie Nelson, The Civil Wars, Dierks Bentley and Roseanne Cash.

1884 Bridgeford House Bed and Breakfast Honored by TripAdvisor

The 1884 Bridgeford House Bed and Breakfast  in Eureka Springs has received a 2012 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. It is the bed and breakfast’s second year in a row to receive this designation.

The honor recognizes establishments worldwide that consistently receive outstanding traveler reviews on Christine Petersen, president of TripAdvisor for business, said, “From exceptional accommodations in Beijing to remarkable restaurants in Boston, we want to applaud these businesses for offering TripAdvisor travelers a great customer experience.”

TripAdvisor®is the world's largest travel site, offering trusted advice from real travelers.

“More Fun Per Gallon” Campaign Launches

The “More Fun Per Gallon” advertising campaign has begun. Members of the hospitality industry 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. You may have heard messages from some of the participating partners, including The Gangster Museum of America in Hot Springs, Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Crescent and Basin Park hotels in Eureka Springs and others. The promotion will continue through the summer, and it’s not too late to participate.

More than 250 packages have been added to since the program began. Adding a package is 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.

Parks and Tourism Shoots are Underway for the Spring/Summer 2013 Campaign

The Jones Film Video crew has taken advantage of the recent beautiful Arkansas weather to shoot footage for next year's television and print campaigns. Most recently, they visited Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art , Sam Walton's Five and Dime and Table Mesa  in Bentonville. They have also captured Mississippi River State Park near Marianna, zip line tours at Rowdy Adventures outdoor entertainment park near Arkadelphia, as well as the newly renovated Museum of Discovery in Little Rock. Here are a few behind-the-scenes moments from the shoots.

New and Improved Training Curriculum Debuts

The Department of Parks and Tourism has produced a “First Impressions” Welcome to Arkansas Guest Service Training curriculum with customer service topics relevant to today’s visitor. Topics range from putting yourself in your guest’s place to giving good directions to phone and email etiquette.

The program is an extension of the Welcome to Arkansas initiative to educate front-line workers to better serve guests. The training curriculum is an educational tool for front-line workers, and it also functions to “train the trainer” by preparing willing individuals to provide ongoing training sessions locally. Contact Kristine Puckett at or 501-682-1676 to learn how you can put these tools to use in your community.

From Park Avenue to the White River

Joe Cermele, fishing editor for Field and Stream magazine, visited the White River May 21-25, accompanied by Alex Robinson of Outdoor Life. Home base for the two was Cedarwood Lodge in Flippin and their local guide was Mike Neher, a.k.a. “Crazy Mike.”  They were in the Arkansas Ozarks to video their trip for “Hook Shots” web show. Each new episode averages 10,000 views, and has a 96% watch-through rate.

Cermele also syndicates to YouTube which generates even more traffic. The show is described as “very young, kind of punk rock, and seems to really be attracting a fresh audience to (which gets roughly 7 million unique views per month).”

How’d their trip go? You can see for yourself by watching this version of “Hook Shots.” According to correspondence with Cermele, “…traffic right out of the gate [for both the Field and Stream website and their YouTube site has been fantastic. I'm really proud of this episode and feedback has been awesome,” Cermele said.

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