The Fort Smith Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) was selected as the winner of the COMMUNITY TOURISM DEVELOPMENT AWARD at the annual Henry Awards Banquet, at the conclusion of the 40th annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism on Tuesday, March 11, 2014.
Left to right:
Miss Arkansas Amy Crain; Claude Legris; Kellie McDaniel; Carolyn Joyce, Debra Cossey and Sherry Scorby, Fort Smith Convention & Visitors Bureau; Richard Davies, Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.
The COMMUNITY TOURISM DEVELOPMENT AWARD is presented to a community or organization which has achieved substantial success toward the enhancement of its local resources through imaginative and innovative development efforts. The national publication “TRUE WEST” magazine ranked Fort Smith #1 on its list of True Western Towns of 2013. Fort Smith competed against over 200 cities including such Wild West legends as Dodge City, KS; Scottsdale, AZ and Durango, CO for the prestigious title.
The designation is “given to towns that have made an important contribution to preserving their Old West heritage,” thanks to the largely unpaid and often anonymous army of preservationists and historical society members who identify maintain and restore the buildings and artifacts and irreplaceable relics of the fabled old west.
The Fort Smith CVB captured the top spot based on its extensive application detailing the town’s landmarks, restoration efforts, history, events and contributions to its preservation of western heritage and culture. The application’s success was achieved through the remarkable resolve of a dedicated group of people who worked with the Fort Smith CVB on a very short deadline to gather pertinent information for True West magazine’s ‘Top True Western Town of 2013’ application.
Fort Smith didn’t stop with just the recognition by True West. The award heightened enthusiasm for our town’s old western heritage and Fort Smith incorporated the 2013 recognition into most elements of its annual marketing campaign. A few examples include: news conferences and press releases to announce designation, request to True West magazine to design a specific logo for Fort Smith, redesign of all marketing elements (print, web, and outdoor media) to reflect the designation of Fort Smith as “Top True Western Town,” numerous radio talk shows, creation and distribution of point of purchase freestanding plaques, metal logo signs were created and erected at all street entrances to the city.
True West has again named Fort Smith to their list of Top Ten True Western Towns for the year 2014. Additionally, due to Fort Smith’s integration of the 2013 recognition into most elements of its annual marketing campaign True West has recognized the Fort CVB with their “Best Promotion of a Historic Place” award for the year 2014.
As Fort Smith’s official destination marketing organization, the Bureau is proud to be honored for the community’s contributions to Arkansas’ tourism industry with the Henry Award! The recognition is the result of decades of many volunteers embracing the City’s history and of preservation and sharing it’s Western roots!
The Henry Awards honor Henri de Tonti, the 17th century explorer considered one of the first “Arkansas Travelers.” The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism recognizes outstanding efforts in eight categories each year.