LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (April 8, 2021) – The Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau (LRCVB) reports that group business is slowly returning to the city. In the first quarter of 2021, the Statehouse Convention Center, Robinson Center and the city’s River Market — all LRCVB managed properties — welcomed a combined total of 17,548 patrons over the course of 77 event days that resulted in 103 overall building usage days.
“We are thrilled to see events returning to Little Rock,” said LRCVB President & CEO Gretchen Hall. “Conventions and coordinated events can happen safely. In addition to following CDC and Arkansas Department of Health recommendations, our team has achieved the state’s first, and only, GBAC STAR™ accreditation in an effort to ensure that all events are held safely, ultimately providing the highest level of comfort and security for group planners and patrons,” she added.
Recently, the LRCVB earned Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR™ accreditation, the gold standard for prepared facilities. Under the guidance of GBAC, a Division of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association, LRCVB has implemented the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention in the Statehouse Convention Center. The Statehouse Convention Center is the state’s first facility to be GBAC STAR™ certified.
“The GBAC STAR™ program is the highest seal of approval when it comes to safe and clean environments,” Hall said. “As more events come back, we’re diligently working to instill confidence in our clients, visitors, attendees and staff by providing the safest environment possible. The GBAC certification is one of the very best ways to do that,” she added.
First quarter events held in LRCVB-managed facilities included conventions, seated dinners, small board meetings, Arkansas Bar Exams, expos, dance and gymnastic competitions, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra performances, wedding rehearsals and receptions, staff retreats and a swearing-in ceremony.Two popular annual events, the Arkansas Marine Expo and the Arkansas RV Show were recently held at the convention center. "Hosting an event during a pandemic is difficult to say the least,” said Ken Griffey, President of the Griffey Agency, and producer of both shows.
“The preparation to host events in January and February of 2021 began months in advance. Our staff with the support of the Arkansas Department of Health, the Governor’s office, the City of Little Rock and the staff at Statehouse Convention Center came together to create a plan on how to move forward with the safety of the consumers as the highest priority. If the level of safety could not be reached, the events would have been canceled or postponed. The success of these events could not have happened without the dedication and support of the professional staff at Statehouse Convention Center,” Griffey said.
A youth gymnastic competition was also successfully held at the convention center. “Planning our JaxGym 2021 Emerald Classic at the Statehouse Convention Center was so much easier than I had anticipated,” said Laurel Adams of Huff ‘n Puff Gymnastics of Jacksonville, Arkansas. “The LRCVB staff was so helpful with our plan submission to the Arkansas Department of Health. We really appreciated their guidance,” she added. “We hosted about 800 youth athletes over three days. The social distancing measures were on point, and everyone felt completely comfortable and safe,” Adams said. “Parents commented on how grateful they were to be able to see their kids compete in-person, as other competitions at smaller venues had not allowed in-person attendance,” she concluded.
Like many destinations throughout the nation, the city of Little Rock has been hit hard by the coronavirus resulting in 297 group cancellations in 2020. Working to provide a premium comfort level with planners, organizers, and attendees to ensure maximum safety and security remains critical, as the LRCVB continues to steer its way through this pandemic and continue to earn business in 2021 and beyond.
ABOUT LITTLE ROCK CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU
Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau (LRCVB) is the official destination marketing organization for the City of Little Rock, charged with marketing and selling the city as a meeting, sports and leisure travel destination. The LRCVB also manages the Statehouse Convention Center, Robinson Center, River Market, and multiple parking facilities. For more information, visit www.littlerock.com.
ABOUT GBAC, A DIVISION OF ISSA
The Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) provides training, guidance, accreditation, certification, crisis management assistance and leadership to government, commercial and private entities looking to mitigate, quickly address and/or recover from biological threats and real-time crises. For more information, visit www.gbac.org.
ISSA is the world’s leading trade association for the cleaning industry. The association is committed to changing the way the world views cleaning by providing its members with the business tools they need to promote cleaning as an investment in human health, the environment and an improved bottom line. For more information about ISSA, visit www.issa.com.