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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
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
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
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 email@example.com.
Submitted by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, (501) 682-7606
May be used without permission. Credit line is appreciated:
"Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism"
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