Arkansas Industry Insider Newsletter

March 9-11 Marks 40th Meeting of Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Song of Arkansas winner and runner-up to perform

Make plans to attend the 40th annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism, to be held at the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers March 9-11.

Among this year’s speakers – actor, producer and travel writer Andrew McCarthy; wayfinding expert Jan Carpman; former Hard Rock International motivator Jim Knight; Arkansas Film Commissioner Christopher Crane; tourism trends specialist Lynette Xanders; professional media relations liaison Debbie Geiger; social media expert Crystal Washington; Arkansas Highway and Transportation director Scott Bennett; and University of Arkansas Head Football Coach Bret Bielema.

The annual gathering of more than 500 members of Arkansas’s tourism industry offers sessions in a variety of topics ranging from better practices in bringing travelers to Arkansas, refining a social media image and creating a storytelling experience for communities and attractions.

The presentation of the upcoming state tourism media marketing campaign will also be shared.

The winner of the Song of Arkansas contest, singer Barrett Baber, will perform Monday afternoon in a special presentation. The song he co-wrote with Kenny Lamb, “A.R.K.A.N.S.A.S. (Get There From Here)” took the top spot in the contest. The first runner-up, Blane Howard, will be on hand at lunch Monday to perform “Arkansas Y’all.”

Due to last minute personal reasons, Joe Nichols will be unable to attend this year’s Governor’s Conference as previously planned. However, he has been kind enough to provide an exciting item for the Monday evening Arkansas Tourism Development Foundation auction. Other items up for bid include:

  • A Serenity Spa Package valued at $559 from Eureka Springs’ Basin Park Hotel
  • A $700 Stay and Play Getaway provided by the Bella Vista Property Owner’s Association
  • A $660 Buffalo National River package from Buffalo Camping and Canoeing
  • A $1500 “Live The Suite Life” two night pampering package from the Embassy Suites Rogers
  • Three live Japanese maple trees from Garvan Woodland Gardens
  • An Arkansas chef-prepared private dinner for eight worth $1500
  • An “Extraordinary Escape” package from Eureka Springs valued at $1150
  • A golf outing at Holiday Island for 12
  • A chicken coop from the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotions Committee
  • A 12 pound ham from the Big Springs Trading Company at St. Joe

Additionally, all tips collected at beverage stations during the auction will go to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute/Breast Cancer Research Project.

The theme of this year’s event, “Creating Partnerships, Building Business” emphasizes the need for cooperation and coordination within Arkansas’s tourism industry to bring more guests into the state.

Tickets for the event are still available online at For question, contact Erik Holbrooks at 501-682-1088 or email

Arkansas Industry Insider NewsletterArkansas Industry Insider Newsletter
Arkansas Industry Insider Newsletter
Arkansas Industry Insider Facebook Arkansas Industry Insider Twitter Arkansas Industry Insider YouTube Arkansas Industry Insider RSS Arkansas Industry Insider Podcasts