Officials at the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau expected 2020 to be a record-setting tourism and tax collection year, but the COVID-19 pandemic got in the way, according to the CVB's annual report, released Thursday.
More: Download the full report here.
The report found that Little Rock advertising and promotion tax collections fell 19.1% from 2019 to $12 million, a low not seen since 2013.
The LRCVB's managed facilities — the Statehouse Convention Center, Robinson Center and River Market — recorded nearly 300 group cancellations and more than 50 postponements. The facilities hosted 149 events, down 73% year-over-year.
But sales efforts continued, securing 148 future group event contracts, representing more than 66,000 hotel room nights and $37 million in estimated direct spending, the report said.
The LRCVB’s marketing department started the year by rebranding. Its "Big on Little Rock" slogan from the 1990s became, "If you're big on (target interest), you're big on Little Rock."
The new branding was also used to create the "Big on Safety Pledge," a pledge 200 local businesses took agreeing to follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Arkansas Department of Health guidelines for COVID-19-safe environment for employees and visitors.