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46th Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism begins March 1 in Fort Smith

Tourism partners from across the state will gather at the 46th Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism March 1-3 at the Fort Smith Convention Center. This year’s conference theme is “Tourism Takes Grit.”

The annual meeting of Arkansas’s tourism industry offers sessions on a variety of topics such as building tourism in local communities, marketing the 2024 eclipse in Arkansas, and targeting travelers interested in heritage and sports tourism. Other topics include website accessibility, highway infrastructure and outdoor recreation.

The featured keynote speaker will be Jamie Clarke, a renowned adventurer who has summitted the world’s highest peaks. Using lessons learned from his travels, Clarke will draw parallels to the dynamic environments found in the office and in nature during his session titled “The Adventure of Business” at 3:45 p.m. on Monday, March 2.

The opening keynote speaker will be Lynette Xanders, CEO and chief strategist of Wild Alchemy, who will inspire attendees to harness the key elements that drive success during her session titled “From Grit to Glory” on Monday, March 2, at 9 a.m.

A highlight of the conference will be the ArkTank startup pitch competition Tuesday, March 3, at 11:15 a.m. The winner will walk away with a cash prize of $5,000 and guaranteed mentorship from Arkansas Tourism and InnovateArkansas, which helps technology entrepreneurs turn startup companies into viable commercial enterprises.

Conference attendees also have the opportunity for one-on-one conversations with conference speakers and other industry professionals to collaborate, brainstorm and learn.

The Arkansas Tourism Development Foundation’s annual auction will take place Monday, March 2, beginning at 4:45 p.m. The money raised from the silent and live auctions funds scholarships for individuals seeking careers in the hospitality and tourism industries.

The conference will culminate with the presentation of the 2020 Henry Awards at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3.

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