Little Rock Mayor Stodola and the mayor's tourism commission will roll out some brochures and maps today guiding visitors to the city's 12 must-see attractions.
Announcement on jump. I'll have the list of the 12 chosen -- by members of the commission -- after the news conference this afternoon. I hope to also have the cost of the promotion and the mayor's thinking on taking up a tourism promotion effort apart from the Little Rock Advertising and Promotion Commission, which receives proceeds of a tax on restaurant and hotel bills to promote the city.
PS -- I think it will develop that, though this is the mayor's own intitiative and something of an indirect poke at A&P (whose revenue is running comfortably ahead, unlike some other areas of the economy) we'll find that A&P provided the money for the mayor's brochures. It's a favorite go-to place for dough when the city has the shorts, which is frequently.
UPDATE: The Top 12 actually includes more than 12 specific places: Clinton Presidential Center; River Market District (including the Arkansas Studies Institute, Nature Center and River Market hall); Heifer International; the five "downtown" museums (including Aerospace as downtown attraction); MacArthur Park (including the military museum); Quapaw Quarter; Mosaic Templars Cultural Center; LR Central High National Historic Site; State Capitol; War Memorial Park (including fitness center and Zoo); Arkansas River Trail (including Big Dam Bridge); and Pinnacle Mountain State Park.
Also, Mayor Stodola answers my questions. More on the jump, but he says the effort is a complement, not a duplication, and that the product is a comprehensive, one-piece overview of major LR attractions, something that has been lacking.
E-MAIL FROM MAYOR STODOLA
The initial run is 20,000 copies and the cost was under $2,000, which was paid by the LRCVB, as it should be. You are possibly under the misimpression that the TC is in competition with the A&P. This is not the case. It is designed as an advisory committee of volunteers, which does not have a budget, to compliment the A&P by providing creative ideas for the development of new and additional attractions, venues and product for the LRCVB to promote when they are selling LR as a potential meeting site. The Commission was directly responsible for attracting the Real Deal Basketball Tournament to Little Rock from Fayetteville which had an economic impact of nearly $3 million on the LR economy. The TC is now working on a “neighborhood dining guide” which identifies restaurants by cuisine and area of the city as well as other projects which will compliment the LRCVB’s work in attracting conventions and meeting groups. There is no duplication or overlap which is why I asked the A&P to print this brochure. The TC is simply 15 citizens who help to brainstorm various ways to promote our city. Tourism is a major component of most mayors’ agenda around the country; it is one that I have embraced fully as an economic development and quality of life tool as well. This would have been the case regardless of the A&P’s past issues. Hope this information helps.
CITY NEWS RELEASE
The Mayor’s Commission on Tourism will unveil a new program featuring the top 12 attractions of the city on June 24th at the River Market East Pavilion at 1pm. The program is expected to be a great promotional tool to entice more visitors into the city, just in time for the summer months when thousands of tourists are expected to visit Central Arkansas. But it’s not city or government leaders who chose the top 12 must-see attractions for the new brochure; it was the ordinary citizens and business leaders of Little Rock who make up the Mayor’s Commission on Tourism.
“This will be a great way to show the bigger picture of everything Little Rock has to offer as a tourism destination, “ said Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola. “Putting all the attractions on a single promotional piece allows potential visitors to realize how many great things there is to see in our city. We hope that makes them stay longer, or makes them want to come back. “
The program will not only feature the city’s top 12 attractions; it will also include admission prices, hours of operation, and other pertinent information that a tourist would need to know about the places they plan to visit. The top 12 attractions are listed according to geographical location going from east to west. And all of the attractions listed are either free or are easily affordable.
The program also includes two maps that will make it easier for visitors to navigate through town, as well as local sightseeing companies who offer guided tours of the city. Distribution will begin Thursday to Hotels, Visitors Center and other Little Rock attractions.
“This will not only benefit Little Rock attractions, but it will benefit hotels, restaurants, and retail stores in the area who will reap the rewards of more tourists being enticed into our city and staying longer, The Mayor’s Commission also believes that corporate groups, universities, and small businesses will use the new publication to help recruit employees. Many people outside the state of Arkansas simply do not know what we have to offer in terms of interesting places to visit and the quality of life that we have. We hope this new program will help communicate that message,” Stodola said.
“We hope this is also an opportunity for Little Rock residents to learn more about their own hometown” said Bob Lanford, Chairman of the Commission.
Here are the members of the commission that chose the featured sites (inevitably leaving a few omitted spots a touch bruised):
Bob Lanford, Chair