Ark. Issues Sales Aids for African-American Travelers

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism produced two new sales aids for distribution to African-American travelers, Experience Arkansas and Experience Arkansas Calendar of Events.

Tourism officials hope that the new brochures stimulate travel within the state by African-American residents, and into Arkansas by out-of-state guests.

"The African-American travel market is a very important segment of Arkansas tourism," Joe David Rice, tourism director, noted.

Last March, in fact, a well-attended seminar on African-American travel promotion was held at the Governor's Conference on Tourism in Pine Bluff.

During the Governor's Conference, state-commissioned research revealed that residents, regardless of race, were traveling less within Arkansas and going instead to border states such as Mississippi, which has casino gambling, and to Tennessee and Missouri (Branson, in particular) because of entertainment and major attractions there.

Meanwhile, out-of-state visitation increased only slightly.

Experience Arkansas divides the state into six regions: Delta, Timberlands, Ouachitas, River Valley, Central and Ozarks.

Within those regions, the brochure describes 37 sites that have played significant roles in the lives of the state's African-Americans.

These include historic homes, churches, museums and schools. Experience Arkansas Calendar of Events spotlights 100 fairs, festivals, exhibits, theatrical productions, musical events and commemorative occasions of interest to the black traveler.

The listing goes through June 1998.

Meanwhile, the Department of Parks and Tourism began advertising the brochures in major Midwest metropolitan newspapers, in selected Arkansas publications and over local radio stations.

For copies of the brochures, agents can call (800) NATURAL or write to the Department of Parks and Tourism, 1 Capitol Mall, Little Rock, Ark. 72201.

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