April 30, 2014 Edition

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Cheryl Ferguson (right), with Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, shows Carrie Mae Snapp, owner of Imagine in Walnut Ridge, promotional travel signs the department had made. Snapp had her picture made with one of the signs in preperation for National Travel & Tourism Week, May 3-11. The department is looking into various ways to promote tourism in the area.

Tourism officials visit WR

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

Cheryl Ferguson, with Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, and Tracy Morales, head of ADPT Group Travel, visited Walnut Ridge Thursday to explore ways they could help promote tourism in the area.

Charles and Jackie Snapp with the Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee showed them around the town.

They visited local attractions including Beatles Park, The Guitar Walk, The Wings of Honor Museum, as well as many local shops and restaurants.

Morales said that she hopes to bring various tours through the area and said that Walnut Ridge is close enough to several larger metropolitan areas to promote day trips to people in those areas

She said that the route is of special interest to motorcyclists. "They're not looking for the true cityscape. They want experiences that are different and unique."

The Department of Parks and Tourism attends 16 trade shows across the country to promote routes and tourism in Arkansas.

"We operate out of Little Rock, but we represent the entire state," Morales said.

She said that the department works to bring people together and she is trying to get Walnut Ridge added to several existing tours. There is a possibility of three tours being set up in Walnut Ridge for tour operators to see attractions in the area and consider adding it to their tour lines.

"I'm hoping we now are ready to move to the next level with the state's help," Charles said.

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