SHARP COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - Between the Spring River, vacation destinations in Cherokee Village, and areas like downtown Hardy, tourism plays a huge role in Sharp County.
The Spring River Area Chamber of Commerce says even with COVID-19, their summer was a success.
“It was a bit scary at first, we didn’t know what to expect,” Ethan Barnes, President of Spring River Area Chamber of Commerce said about the start of COVID-19.
As the months went on, he found more people getting away to the area.
“When the virus started, we saw people [flee] from the cities to here," Barnes said. That includes places like the Spring River and, as a result, a boom in canoe rentals.
Overall, for May, June, and July, the county saw an increase of nearly $60,000 from 2019 to 2020, up by 22 percent.
Barnes says even though the uncertainty of COVID-19, he’s proud of the community for sticking together.
“At first, we may have been a little bit curious as to what the coronavirus entailed," Barnes said. "But now that we’ve gone through it and we realized some different aspects of it all, it’s not been too awful to Sharp County. The community has come together and we’ve had one of the best summers that we’ve had on record in years.”
Barnes says while COVID is still a concern, he’s hopeful that the success Sharp County has seen over the past few months will continue.