P. Allen Smith to Help Promote State Tourism on TV Shows

A new partnership between the state Department of Parks and Tourism and the Arkansan the New York Times called the "Martha Stewart of the South" will result in more Natural State exposure in a growing multimedia empire.

P. Allen Smith, the Arkansas-based multimedia gardening expert who appears on the "Today" show and varied line of products, spoke Monday afternoon at the 37th annual Arkansas Governor's Conference on Tourism at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock.

Smith, who has become perhaps the country's foremost expert on gardening and sustainable agriculture, hosts three national television shows from his Quapaw Quarter cottage and his 500-acre retreat, Moss Mountain Farm, just outside of Little Rock overlooking the Arkansas River. He has also written six gardening books.

Smith said that as part of a partnership with Parks and Tourism, he will run TV spots promoting Arkansas on his three shows in 2011. The spots were produced by Little Rock advertising, marketing and public relations firm Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods.

One of Smith's shows, "Garden to Home," is new and will run on PBS beginning in April. Smith said the show will feature the best of Arkansas food grown in local gardens.

At the end of each show, Smith will run information on where he is based and where in Arkansas his shows were shot.

"I've been invited to live many places," Smith said during an afternoon session on tourism marketing. "Where I want to be is right here."

Smith said he would continue to promote Arkansas on TV shows, in books, through social media and in personal appearances.

Target Markets

Also on Monday, CJRW talked about key markets it will target with other promotions it has produced for Arkansas Parks and Tourism. Those markets include Chicago; Oklahoma City; Austin, Texas; New Orleans; and Memphis.

CJRW's marketing package includes eight new TV spots, 30 magazine ads, as well as radio and outdoor buys, podcasts and mobile messaging.

Aristotle Inc., the Little Rock firm contracted by the state to provide Internet marketing, also said that it will be redesigning the department's promotional website, Arkansas.com, in 2011. Aristotle said the new design will feature more scenic photos and streamlined navigation.

The revamped site will also feature microsites devoted to adventure, dining, virtual tours, newcomers, relocating, Arkansas heritage and "going green" in Arkansas.

More on Arkansas Tourism

Read stories from Arkansas Business' annual tourism and hospitality issue, including top restaurants and hotels, commentary from Parks and Tourism Director Joe David Rice and a look at how the tourism industry is recovering from recession.