Arkansas tourism partners from across the state honored the 2017 winners of the annual “Henry Awards” during a luncheon at the 43rd Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism, held March 12-14 in Little Rock. The Henry Awards honor individuals and organizations that have made important contributions to the state’s tourism industry in the preceding year.

Governor Asa Hutchinson presided at the banquet and addressed more than 500 attendees about tourism issues in Arkansas. Kane Webb, executive director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, served as master of ceremonies and Miss Arkansas 2016 Savannah Skidmore assisted in the presentation of the awards.


The winners were:

Tourism Person of the Year: Jim Rice, Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau, Little Rock


Media Support Award: Arkansas Living, Little Rock

Bootstrap Award: Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, Eureka Springs


Arkansas Heritage Award: Ozark Highlands Radio, Mountain View

Grand Old Classic Special Event Award: Arkansas Derby, Hot Springs

Outstanding Volunteer Service Award: Ross Cowling, Texarkana

Community Tourism Development Award: The Unexpected, Fort Smith


The Natural State Award: West Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau, West Memphis

The Henry Awards have been a feature of the annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism since their debut in 1981. The awards are named for Henri de Tonti, founder of Arkansas Post in 1686, and who is often hailed as the first “Arkansas Traveler.”

For more information, contact Kristine Puckett, Tourism Development Manager, Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, 501-682-5240.