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Joe David Rice, Arkansas Tourism Director
Joe David Rice, Arkansas Tourism Director
   

 

September 5, 2003


Rice Awarded 2003 Tourism Director of the Year

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Joe David Rice, tourism director for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, was chosen by his peers as the Travel Industry Association of America's 2003 State Tourism Director of the Year. Rice received the award on Aug. 26, while attending the association's convention in Asheville, N.C.

Since 1970, the award has been given by TIA's National Council of State Tourism Directors to an individual nominated by a fellow director and chosen, by ballot, from the 55 state and U.S. territory tourism directors. "This award is a great honor because you're being recognized by your peers," said Patty Hubbard, vice president of National Councils at the Travel Industry Association of America. "It's strictly driven by the results that have impressed your fellow tourism directors. And Joe David has certainly produced amazing results."

As the Arkansas tourism director, Rice manages a team of 67 employees responsible for enhancing the image of the state and improving its economy by generating travel. Since becoming director in 1987, travel expenditures in Arkansas have grown from $2.1 billion to $3.9 billion annually, and state travel-generated taxes from $96.1 million to $219.8 million.

"Joe David coordinated the effort that led the Arkansas legislature to pass the 2-percent tourism tax in 1989," said Richard Davies, executive director for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. "Without that money, it would be near impossible for the state to market itself and have an impact in this extremely competitive industry."

Davies also said Rice "believes in Arkansas, and he knows the state as well as anyone I've ever worked with."

"I may have the best job in Arkansas," Rice said. "When you work with talented colleagues and a creative advertising agency, and have the support of the governor, the legislature and the commission, good things tend to happen."

Among his peers, Hubbard said, Rice is noted for innovative ideas, such as creating the first state tourism IMAX film, initiating an award-winning festival handbook, and producing the new Arkansas adventure guide.

A Jonesboro native who graduated from the University of Arkansas and received his master's degree from the University of Illinois, Rice joined the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism in 1981. Early in his career, Rice was a partner in a canoe outfitting service on the Buffalo National River.

The mission of the Travel Industry Association of America, a non-profit association created in 1941, is to increase travel to and within the United States.

For more information, visit www.tia.org or contact Jay Harrod, communications manager at the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, by phone at (501) 682-7606 or by e-mail at jay.harrod@mail.state.ar.us.

 

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Submitted by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, (501) 682-7606
E-mail: info@arkansas.com

May be used without permission. Credit line is appreciated:
"Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism"

 

 

 

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