Did you know that tourism is one of Arkansas’ largest industries? According to the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, the state hosted 28 million visitors and brought in $7.2 billion in tourism expenditures in 2015. The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism is coordinating a tourism appreciation campaign during National Travel & Tourism Week to say thank you to the tourists who visit this great state.
There are a number of positive attributes that tourism brings to our state. Tourism-related jobs, cultural preservation, and revenue are just a few. Tourism is vital to Arkansas’s economy, and it is projected to be one of the fastest-growing industries in the next decade. The economic impact of travel and tourism on the state’s economy showed an 8.69% increase in travel expenditures in 2015. Arkansas’s travel and tourism industry travel generated payroll has grown from $240 million in 1979 to $1.3 billion in 2015, an increase of 447.6% over the last 36 years. Polk County alone received an estimated 99,000 visitors in 2015, generating $537,560 in local tax dollars and $25.2 million in total travel expenditures.
There are several events occurring in Polk County in celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week. On Thursday, April 21st, a Proclamation Signing was held at the Mena/Polk County Chamber of Commerce with Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison, Town of Hatfield Mayor Linda Denton, City of Mena Mayor George McKee and Town of Wickes Mayor Leon McClesky. The city and county leaders joined together and signed proclamations declaring May 1-7, 2016 National Travel & Tourism week in Polk County.
On Wednesday, May 4th, from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., a NTTW Lunch & Learn will be held at the Ouachita Center. There will be a guest speaker from the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism as well as the NTTW partners. Tickets will be $10.00 each, which includes a light lunch provided by Paisano’s. Please RSVP at (479) 394-2912 by Monday, May 2nd.
A NTTW Tourism Reception will be held on Thursday, May 5th, from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. at Queen Wilhelmina Lodge. There will be a guest speaker from the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism and the NTTW partners, and refreshments will be served.
In addition to the events schedule, there are more opportunities to show your support and get involved with NTTW. Wear RED to show the economic impact and magnitude of the tourism industry and celebrate tourism the week of May 1-7, 2016. You can also share your message of travel on your social media channels and tag them with #NTTW16 and #VisitArkansas. Or, you can display “Tourism Week” messages on your business marquee.