Eurkea Springs: Limited Size, Unlimited Opportunities For Visitors (Tourism | Winner Under 5,000)

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Dec. 10, 2012 12:00 am  

From the arts to outdoor events, the city of Eureka Springs offers something for almost every visitor.

The city of just under 2,200 sees about 800,000 travelers annually. Its efforts to attract visitors earned Eureka Springs an Arkansas Business City of Distinction award for Tourism Development in 2012.

The city uses money generated from its 3 percent tax on hotel, motel and restaurant receipts to promote the city, said Mike Bishop, president and CEO of the Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce. In 2012, the tax is expected to generate $1.2 million, up about 15 percent from 2011, he said.

Tourism is the city’s biggest industry, Bishop said.

“In a constant effort to reinvent ourselves, keep our offerings fresh and improve our appeal to potential visitors, Eureka Springs has strengthened itself with some exciting new developments. And the results are paying off,” Bishop said.

The newest must-see attraction in the city is the Queen Anne Mansion House Museum.

“It had fallen into disrepair,” Bishop said. “The couple that bought it totally restored it. It is now a signature landmark.”

The $5 million restoration project of the house built in 1891 took about five years to complete. The Queen Anne opened in 2010 and tours feature more than 12,000 SF of architecture, original woodwork and stained glass.

“While the restoration has preserved the atmosphere of turn-of-the-century living, the state-of-the-art updates throughout the property provide the comfort, beauty and functionality expected by today’s travelers,” the museum’s website said. “This includes installation of high-end kitchens, luxurious bathrooms in each suite, and in the Kelley House, a private spa for owners and their guests.”

More than 15,000 visitors have toured the house since it opened.

Eureka Springs also promotes its outdoor activities. The Annual Fat Tire Festival attracts hundreds of bikers to the city in the summer. Bishop said motorcycling “continues to grow due to our great rides, scenic views and ‘fun spirit’ found in our historic downtown.”

In August, the second annual Eurekan Multi-sports Event was held. The three-day event features a triathlon one day, bike rides and races another day and footraces the last day.



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