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Contact(s):Scott Carter
501-371-4421

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
Tuesday, April 1, 2008

MAYOR STODOLA ANNOUNCES TOURISM COMMITTEE

(Little Rock, AR – April 1, 2008) Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola today announced the members of a Tourism Committee which will examine and advise the City on opportunities to further promote tourism and to create a climate that attracts even more tourists and tourism destinations.

“Tourism is the third largest industry in the United States. Little Rock is blessed to have many natural, cultural, athletic, and heritage resources,” noted Mayor Stodola. “Many people visit here each year to experience some of what Little Rock has to offer. But, often when they come, they do not realize the other offerings that are available. In addition, there are many more opportunities for future growth and expansion.”

“The US Conference of Mayors has established a Standing Committee on Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports, one of only three standing committees for the entire organization. Its focus is on policies that can impact tourism and other quality of life issues. I want to follow that lead. This new committee will seek ways to build on Little Rock’s great momentum,” the Mayor continued.

In 2006, then-Mayor Jim Dailey formed a task force to examine the future of the Curran Hall Visitors Center. As part of that committee’s deliberations, there was discussion of the future establishment of a tourism committee.

“According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Cultural Heritage tourism is the fastest growing sector of the tourism industry. From our historic structures and neighborhoods to our many cultural institutions, Little Rock can be a prime destination,” the Mayor said. “The arts, humanities, and museums are critical to the quality of life and livability of Little Rock. Furthermore, cultural institutions like the Arkansas Arts Center, Museum of Discovery, the forthcoming Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, and the many other museums provide access to cultural activities for peoples of all races, creeds, and income levels.

“There are also many outstanding active and passive recreational opportunities that are available. We must also not forget the sports angle of tourism. Whether it is the Little Rock Marathon, American Taekwondo Association World Championships, or the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, we have seen that visitors will come to Little Rock and Central Arkansas, stay for several days, and contribute to the local economy,” said Mayor Stodola. “Sports tourism has been found to have positive impacts on local economies, public health, and the environment.”

“With the recognition of the importance of the tourism industry, Little Rock must be sure it is positioned to maximize our resources. This committee will do that.”
Mayor Stodola will convene the first meeting of this body on Wednesday, April 2 at 12 noon at Little Rock City Hall in the Sister Cities Conference Room.

The members of the committee are:
• David Bazzel, media personality and communications consultant
• Sheila Bronfman, political and communications consultant
• Jana Cohen, Arkansas Destinations
• Wayne Cranford, retired public relations executive
• Lawrence Hamilton, Philander Smith College; nationally recognized actor
• Ivan Hudson, Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce
• Bob Lanford, Stephens Inc.
• Cary Martin, Little Rock Tours
• Susan Meadors, J-Rock Consulting
• Carolyn Newbern, community leader
• Margaret Preston, St. Vincent Health System
• Skip Rutherford, Clinton School for Public Service 
• Constance Sarto, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center
• Steve Stephens, retired television personality and ad executive
• Breda Turner, St. Vincent Auxiliary Men’s Pro Tennis Tournament


“I am appreciative that these citizens have agreed to serve,” said Mayor Stodola. “They represent many sectors of the tourism community from the arts to sports, from preservation of historic structures to use of new media. I look forward to working with them as we explore ways to build more partnerships and opportunities.”

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