State Leaders Hope 'Destination: Arkansas' Will Bring International Tourism - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR - Kathy Morris Reports

State Leaders Hope 'Destination: Arkansas' Will Bring International Tourism

October 7, 2003 - Posted at 10:45pm

JONESBORO, AR -- The 'Destination: Arkansas' bus pulled into Jonesboro Tuesday evening. Those on board brought ideas to improve tourism in the state, and hopes that its' effects will be felt in Northeast Arkansas.

Joe David Rice with Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism said, "We hired a consultant a few years ago, and he said that what we needed to do is to have some new attractions in the state to bring more people here more often to generate more money to keep the legislators happy and the schools funded, and that's what we're ultimately trying to do."

"We know the internationalization of tourism is very important, because we understand the international implications with regard to commercial and industrial development," added Henry Jones, President of Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Tourism leaders hope the Clinton Presidential Center and Park, as well as the world headquarters of Heifer International will help bring global visitation to Arkansas; something the state hasn't had much of in the past.

"It'll be the hook that draws people into the state, and once they're here, one of the things we've learned is they love it," explained Lucas Hargrave, Clinton Presidential Center and Park. "If we can bring them here once, we've got a visitor for life."

Ann McCoy with Heifer International commented on her organization's draw, "We're going to have international speakers, seminars, workshops on hunger and poverty and solutions, but we find that international visitors who come to Arkansas want to see what's located around it."

As the passengers returned to their bus, they reminded residents to think about ways to promote their communities and in-turn tourism. "..because everybody throughout Arkansas has a story to tell," said Dan O'Byrne, who spoke on behalf of the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, "and that story is extremely important and critical to the international traveler, who when they travel wants to know what Arkansas is genuinely about."

Representatives from the groups collaborating on the 'Destination: Arkansas' project spent the night in Jonesboro Tuesday night, and headed to Blytheville and West Memphis Wednesday. October 13th and 14th they'll be in Pine Bluff, McGehee, El Dorado, Hot Springs, Hope and Texarkana where they'll finish their tour.

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