Little Rock, Ark. (August 26, 2019) – In one of the highest volume seasons in its history, the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau (LRCVB) hosted 112 meetings and conferences June-August 2019, representing attendance of 60,923 people and a direct economic impact to the city of nearly $20 million*, according to LRCVB President and CEO Gretchen Hall.
The meetings and gatherings include religious and fraternal groups, corporate conferences, family reunions, professional associations, athletic events and pageants.
“These 112 meetings have brought nearly 61,000 people to Little Rock. Collectively they booked 35,664 hotel room nights and contributed $19,732,714 to the city through direct spending*,” Hall reports. “Aside from the economic impact, we’re excited that Little Rock attracts such a diverse group of people to our city. Many of these event-goers have experienced Little Rock for the very first time, while others are repeat customers as some events return to the capital city each year. The attendees love to come here, eat at our great restaurants, shop with local merchants, take in the sites and historic attractions and meet the locals, who really are our best ambassadors,” she added.
LRCVB’s Sales & Services team works months and even years in advance to identify, recruit, assist and book the gatherings into Little Rock. The summer of 2019 has proven to be one of the highest recorded level of event bookings in the bureau’s history — a testament to Little Rock as a meetings, conventions and leisure destination and the work of the LRCVB sales team.
A few regional and national groups that hosted meetings in Arkansas’s Capital City for the first time include: National PACE Association, National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference, Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant, USA Water Ski AWSA South Central Region Junior Development Tournament, International Cake Exploration Society, Southern Golf Association – Southern Amateur Championship, and the South Central Region Undergraduate Round-Up of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
The larger annual conferences that returned to Little Rock this summer include: South Central Region of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., ATA World Expo, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Miss Arkansas Scholarship Pageant, Miss High School America Pageant, Arkansas Municipal League, Church of God in Christ, and the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators, A-State Corvette Association.
Earlier this year, LRCVB launched a new partnership program designed to bring more meeting and convention business to the city called the Little Rock “Rock Star” initiative. Several of the above-mentioned groups are results of efforts by local residents, belonging to associations and organizations, assisting LRCVB in securing the meeting. For example, Kathy Tatum, Little Rock resident, helped secure the South Central Region of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
“I’m proud to say that whenever we come to Little Rock, it’s a great conference. We have the opportunity to have the best facilities for our meetings – the shopping, the great restaurants. It’s all within walking distance. I love when you can go to a conference and not have to move your vehicle and have the best of all worlds,” said Tatum.
In addition to the group bookings, leisure travel is also on the rise in Little Rock. According to Smith Travel Research, Little Rock’s overall hotel occupancy has grown 5.4% over 2018 in the first six months of the year.
“Visitors to Little Rock — whether convention and meeting attendees or vacationing families — have a very positive effect on our local economy and quality of life. At LRCVB, our team works to showcase our great city to individuals and groups, and we’re happy to see those efforts are paying off,” Hall concluded.
*Direct Economic Impact is calculated by Destination International’s Economic Impact Calculator.
ABOUT LITTLE ROCK
The Little Rock Advertising & Promotion Commission is the governing body for the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau (LRCVB). 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.