The 2020 Shining Example Award winners were announced during the Southeast Tourism Society’s annual Connections conference in Little Rock.
Arkansas Tourism, a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, won the award because of team accomplishments throughout the Arkansas Tourism office, including effective tourism marketing, creativity in design and development and implementation of new projects, a media release said.
A recent economic impact report show that Arkansas hosted more than 32 million visitors in 2018 who spent $7.37 billion in total travel expenditures, $408 million in state taxes and $161 million in local taxes, according to the 2019 tourism report, released in September.
Showing that tourism is not just about numbers, Arkansas Tourism also took action to find creative and innovative ways to help tourism partners promote their attractions and destinations is also important.
“In 2019, Arkansas Tourism conceptualized and launched several new projects that had not previously been implemented in the tourism field. The most prominent example was the creation of “Ark Tank,” a competition for start-up tourism businesses within the state that debuted during the 2019 Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism,” the press release said.
Other highlights of the year included the department’s first international sales missions trips including the Travel South Mission trip to Shanghai, Beijing, and Hangzhou, China; a new partnership with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission to produce “ARKANSAS: Love Where You Live;” a collaboration with the University of Arkansas to launch an experiential learning experience for high school students; and increased professional development opportunities for the industry through a Crowdriff Webinar and Google Webinar.