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The Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau Reports That Tourism Numbers Are Expected To Increase

According to the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau, the region is recovering as a vacation destination following the pandemic. They’re aiming to get back to pre-pandemic levels in order to aid Little Rock’s economic recovery.

On Friday, the group released its 2021 report, which detailed the region’s performance as a destination amid the global pandemic. Little Rock was doing exceptionally well before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to communications director Libby Doss Lloyd.

“The City of Little Rock had a spectacular year in 2019, and 2020 looked set to be just as good, if not better.” We had started off on a high note, so to speak, until everything went black.” Lloyd told KUAR News in an interview.

In order to financially support the area in 2020, the club concentrated more on outdoor activities. It also installed mountain biking paths at Pinnacle Mountain State Park and Two Rivers Park, as well as mapping and posting Little Rock’s 1,200 miles of riding trails.

“While Little Rock is the city’s urban core, as the state’s capital, we have a variety of outdoor amenities here, and that served us and the state, quite frankly, extremely well as people were seeking for safe things to do.” Lloyd remarked.

After capital improvements and cleaning, the Statehouse Convention Center, the Robinson Center Music Hall, and the River Market, all of which are maintained by the organization, were awarded the worldwide accreditation ‘Global Bio Risk Accreditation.’ In-person events, according to the annual report, have safety processes in place to ensure that guests are safe.

According to the data, lodging tax revenue surged by 48 percent last year, while the prepared food tax jumped by 18 percent. Prepared food collections increased by 4% in 2019, while lodging collections fell by 21%.

In 2021, there were 351 events in LRCVB-managed sites, a 135 percent increase over 2020. The revenue from the facilities was still $2.3 million short of what it had been in 2019. Over 2020, the number of people working in advertising and promotion increased by 23%.

“The folks of Little Rock should be praised for their support of the local restaurant community during this pandemic, and we’re fortunate to still have so many of them standing and continuing strong.” Lloyd remarked.

According to the report, the organization attempted to refocus its marketing efforts on Black visitors, LGBTQ visitors, and cyclists. The Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau was able to receive national prominence for its efforts to increase community participation thanks to these three niche markets.

“We facilitated three focus groups with local residents and some visitors to Little Rock, in which we discussed what it meant to them as they went and what was significant to them.” Lloyd remarked.

According to Lloyd, tourism is Arkansas’ second largest economic engine, accounting for roughly 25% of state and local tax receipts. She said the pandemic took a toll on the state, but tourism is rebounding, and the city has seen strong growth so far in 2022.

“We were proud to see the figures that we did in 2021 because I think Little Rock overall performed very well despite the fact that we were in such a catastrophic pandemic,” says the mayor.