Arkansas Industry Insider Newsletter
Greetings Industry Insiders,

Everybody loves a bargain. How about getting something that’s really valuable, for free? That’s what we offer with our Deals and Coupons on This essential resource for tourists and industry members alike gives you the chance to draw in customers – at no cost to you. See below for details on how you can participate.

A treasure trove of Old Master paintings opens in Little Rock today. The Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock is the last of just four institutions in North America hosting the “Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: The Treasures of Kenwood House, London” exhibit from one of the greatest country houses in England. Keep this in mind if you have the opportunity to cross-promote this incredible arts offering to our visitors.

Come tomorrow, you’re invited to attend the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame 2013 Induction Ceremony at the Hot Springs Convention Center. This year’s inductees include guitarist Louis Shelton; gospel star Rosetta Nubin Tharpe; Jimmy Buffett keyboardist Mike Utley; famed legal eagle for the Rolling Stones and current television producer Bill Carter; and Arkansas’s own Bozo, Gary Weir.

There’s a lot to cover in this installment. Keep on reading.

Joe David Rice
Tourism Director

You Can’t Beat Free: How To Get Your Deals and Coupons on

Our state’s tourism website ranks second in the nation. There are a lot of eyes peering into – and many of those pairs are seeking out a good deal.

Here’s an opportunity for you to share your message and offer incentives for guests to visit your property. If you aren’t already listed in our Attractions, Lodging and Dining database, click here to register. Once you’re able to sign in, you can complete your listing with photos, a description and detailed information for travelers.

But that’s not all. When you have a listing on, you can set up a Deal or a Coupon – or a lot of Deals and Coupons, if you wish. Log in here, click on Deals and Coupons and enter your details. Your special offer for visitors can be live for up to three months – and if you want to continue to offer that deal, you can renew it with very little hassle.

It’s absolutely free, but you have to enter your information. To get set-up, contact Cara Clemmons at (501) 682-7602 or

Pack and Play Getaway Encourages Visitors to Drive Arkansas

Following last summer’s Gas Up and Go promotion, the Department of Parks and Tourism is offering a Pack and Play Getaway extravaganza on and on Facebook. Twenty lucky entrants will receive a $50 gas card to bring them to The Natural State and give them fuel to get around. Consider adding a link to the getaway  and to our Facebook page to your next e-newsletter or to your website and help your guests out with a chance to win!

West Memphis Welcome Center Now Open

The newest Arkansas Welcome Center is now open. The West Memphis facility – a 6400, square foot state-of-the-art lodge style structure -- was dedicated May 28th. The rock-and-log clad structure sits on 10 acres and is heated and cooled with earth-coupled heat pumps.

A 1997 study of the state’s Welcome Centers revealed that the old buildings were constructed for an expected 20-year life, but the average existing age was 23 years. After the report, the Governor’s Office, the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism began a program in 1993 to replace most of the structures. The West Memphis location is the seventh new center, following the completion of buildings in El Dorado, Texarkana, Van Buren/Fort Smith, Corning, Blytheville and Lake Village. A new center will open in Helena-West Helena later this year.

Total cost for the seven completed projects, which have been funded with 20% State Matching Funds and 80% Federal Transportation Enhancement Funds, is $24 million.

Quick Briefs

  • The Norman Rockwell exhibit that just closed at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, drew 121,000 guests. That’s more than at any other stop along the tour – including sojourns in Sacramento and Detroit!
  • The U. S. Marshals Museum Board of Directors has announced a fall 2016 opening for the brand new facility in Fort Smith. Ground will be broken on the project September 24th, 2014.
  • A new hotel has opened in Little Rock’s River Market District. The Residence Inn by Marriott contains 107 suites in its six stories and is located at 219 River Market Avenue
  • The United States Post Office has just released a Forever stamp featuring the likeness of Arkansas-born music hero Johnny Cash. The release is the latest in the USPS Music Icons series.
  • The largest bass tournament in the state, the Arkansas Big Bass Bonanza, is set for June 28-30 along the Arkansas River.
  • Speaking of fishing, beginning today is the Free Fishing Weekend in Arkansas. Residents and non-residents alike may fish without a license or a trout permit from noon Friday through midnight on Sunday. Regular fishing regulations for Arkansas waters apply.

Commission Approves Plan to Invite Fall Vacationers

The State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission approved a more than $4 million advertising and marketing campaign for Fall/Winter 2013-14 at its May meeting in Marianna.

The presentation included media and creative for Consumer, Group Travel and Retirement ads for television, magazine, radio, out-of-home and online. It was supported by communications and partnership programs and will run July 1 through December 31 this year.

The campaign will once again utilize Engage TV, where viewers interact with Arkansas travel information through their cable boxes. This strategy was successful in creating interest during the spring; the three-week campaign generated more than 12,500 requests for vacation-planning information.

The plan also includes the continuation of the Summer Value Campaign, designed to remind those in close feeder markets and in-state travelers of the economical vacation opportunities just a short drive away. Messages created to build traffic in late August and September will work to grow visitation after school begins, and industry partners will again have an opportunity to “piggyback” on the Department’s advertising at significantly discounted rates.

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