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Offical Seal of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

The mission of the department of parks & tourism is to enhance the quality of life in arkansas by promoting, protecting, interpreting and managing the state's natural and cultural resources.

he Department of Parks & Tourism seeks to serve the constituency of this Great State by enhancing the quality of life for all citizens. The Department achieves this goal through the maintenance and preservation of quality state park recreation facilities and other means including the increase of tourism generated revenue for the state. Our concern is not only for the present but also to conserve our natural and cultural resources for the future. This is why the Department also works to safeguard and develop the state’s resources as well as collecting and preserving the state’s past through historical items and documents. Our goal is to work economically and efficiently to serve all of these needs, both present and future. We look forward to working with you to make the Natural State even greater.
  Picture of Executive Director Richard Davies Signature: Richard W. Davies Executive Director, Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Economic Impact of Arkansas State Parks & Arkansas Tourism Industry

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  • Approximately 21.8 million travelers visit Arkansas each year.
  • Tourists spend approximately $4.6 billion annually; pay $259 million state taxes and $97 million in local taxes.
  • Arkansas’s tourism industry employs approximately 60,917 individuals pays $1.02 billion in annual wages and salaries.
  • Arkansas state parks operates 52 parks consisting 925 buildings, 1,779 campsites, 116 cabins, lodges, eight restaurants, nine marinas and numerous other facilities that visited by nearly 10 million visitors each year.
  • Visitors to Arkansas parks impact Arkansas’s economy by over $260 million annually.

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Organization  [view chart] [ Top of page ]

  The Department of Parks and Tourism is one of Arkansas’s largest state agencies, employing over 1,200 full-time and part-time employees. The primary responsibility of the Department is to manage the state parks system, promote and develop tourism, manage the state archives, and work to prevent litter in our roadsides, parks and cities.

  The Executive Director’s Office coordinates the operations of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism’s six divisions and thirteen boards and commissions in conjunction with overseeing the personnel and internal audit functions.

  The Tourism Division is responsible for generating travel to and within the state and enhancing Arkansas’s image. The Division promotes Arkansas by marketing its attractions through advertising in national/state media, the internet, through publication of travel literature, and by involvement in national group tour, travel writer, tourism development and travel research programs. The Welcome Centers at our borders are staffed through this division.

  Tourism also provides a matching grant program for promotion of the twelve tourism regions through brochures, festivals and other marketing efforts, and administers the retirement/relocation program.

  The Parks Division develops, operates and maintains our 52 state parks and museums, and is responsible for conserving and protecting the state’s outstanding natural and cultural resources, providing recreational opportunities and enhancing the economy through tourism.

   In order to promote local park development, this Division offers 50/50 matching grants up to $250,000 for cities and counties, up to $40,000 Fun Park grants for communities with a population of 2,500 or less, Standard Health & Fitness Trails ($35,000), and Custom Health & Fitness Trails ($70,000 maximum).

  The Great River Road Division is Arkansas’s branch of the Mississippi River Parkway Commission. This Division promotes all tourism and historic aspects along the Mississippi River and works with other states to promote the Parkway.

  The Administrative Services Division provides administrative support for accounting, budgeting, purchasing, payroll, mailroom, printing, warehousing and information technology systems to all Divisions of the Department.

  The History Commission is the state’s official archives and is responsible for collecting material related to Arkansas’s history and encouraging historical work and research. The Commission acquires, organizes and preserves historical documents, newspaper files, maps and photographs for use by researchers.

  The Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission became a Division of our Department in 1997. The purpose of Keep Arkansas Beautiful is to implement statewide litter prevention and beautification programs and promote recycling through the volunteer actions of local communities and participating state agencies.

FY2007 Funding [ Top of page ]