May 11, 2023 - Business

Arkansas' first gentleman: Natural State tourism can "crush" neighbors

A photo of two men standing side-by-side on a balcony with the outdoors visible in the background.

Tom Walton, left, and Bryan Sanders are excited about the outdoor recreation economy in Arkansas. Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

First gentleman Bryan Sanders, chair of the Natural State Advisory Council, said the group's goal is to double the economic impact of the state's tourism within a decade, Arkansas Business reported.

Details: Sanders' remarks were made at a Rotary Club presentation in Little Rock on Tuesday where Sanders was joined by committee members Suzanne Grobmyer of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism; Mindy West, chief financial officer at Murphy USA; and Tom Walton, co-founder of the Runway Group of Bentonville.

What they're saying: "I think we can crush our neighboring states as a destination for outdoor recreation," Sanders said per Arkansas Business.

  • "Tourism is the No. 2 industry behind agriculture. Nothing against the agriculture industry, but I see tourism really leading as the No. 1 industry in the state."

What's next: The advisory council has identified four state parks — Queen Wilhelmina, Petit Jean, Crowley's Ridge and the Mississippi River park — to augment existing amenities so the state can attract more outdoor enthusiasts, he said.


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