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Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders addresses tourism conference in Jonesboro

Sarah Huckabee Sanders in Jonesboro at the 50th Governor's Conference on Tourism.
Rebecca Robinson
Sarah Huckabee Sanders in Jonesboro at the 50th Governor's Conference on Tourism.

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders spoke to the 50th Governor's Conference on Tourism saying Jonesboro and Northeast Arkansas “is on fire.”

The state’s governor spoke during the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame Luncheon that inducted Marcel Hanzlik and Karen Trevino on Monday.

“It is such an incredible honor to be here in Jonesboro for the 50th Governor's Conference on Tourism,” Sanders said. “What an amazing job the team has done here.”

Sanders said that the state’s tourism industry last year set new records. 50 million people visited Arkansas in 2022, up by 17 percent from the previous year. The visitors brought in over $9 billion in revenue.

“Never have more Arkansans worked in the tourism industry than right now,” Sanders said. “Never has there been an administration more passionate and more committed to growing Arkansas tourism than this one.”

Sanders shared how she loves to visit Northeast Arkansas for duck hunting and football games, her brother is an A-State Alumnus.

Outdoor magazine naming Arkansas Monument Trails in state parks as the best mountain biking trails in the country she said it was something to be proud of.

“We focused on providing a strong foundation to establish the natural state as the destination for year-round outdoor adventure and to advance our mission to best elevate our outdoor experiences in Arkansas,” Sanders said.

Sanders talked about how her administration has made some changes to parks to better the spots for tourism including alcohol sales.

“We opened alcohol sales in all Arkansas State Parks including in dry counties, mostly to remain in step with visitor preference and expectation,” Sanders said.

She also said they hired managers for the monument trail systems within state parks, increased historic tax credits, and discounted lifetime fishing and hunting licenses for kids under 10.

“It’s to incentivize parents and grandparents to get kids off those screens and encourage more kids to have a lifelong love for our great outdoors,” Sanders said about the discount.

Sanders in her speech said there has never been a better time to visit or move to Arkansas.

“Arkansas is the natural state. I know it. You know it. It’s time for the rest of the world to know it,” Sanders said.

A 2019 graduate of Sheridan High School, Robinson graduated from A-State with a degree in multimedia journalism in December 2023. In January 2021, while working toward her degree, she was named sports editor for The Herald, A-State’s student-run newspaper.