Russellville Fishes for Niche, Hits Jackpot (Tourism | Winner, 20,000+)

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 12:00 am  

To attract some of the bigger tournaments, the city was willing to lure them in with cash and in-kind services such as facilities, labor, equipment and other services. Russellville has seen a high return on its investment, too.

“The benefits of a tournament far outweigh the modest expenditure,” Graham said. For the 2013 High School World Finals, Graham said the city offered up around $45,000 in cash and in-kind services. The tournament produced roughly $735,000 in actual dollar revenues, she said — an ROI of 1,533 percent.

“Obviously, it was a wise investment,” she said. “The returns that can’t be calculated are intangibles such as lasting friendships, exposure to the River Valley’s natural beauty, enhanced attention to conservation efforts and wildlife preservation, promotion of the state park system, and a chance for our guests to experience Southern hospitality at its finest.”

Russellville offers other popular attractions including the Winter Wonderland holiday lights tours, music festivals, hiking and biking trails and more.

But the city recognized something that made it unique — the fishing and facilities at Lake Dardanelle — and concentrated much of its promotional efforts there.

“By finding a way to differentiate the area from the rest of the pack, Russellville has become a leading competitor in the tournament fishing arena,” said Mayor Bill Eaton. “These efforts have paid great dividends to Russellville and are part of what makes this city special.”



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