The 2017 Henry Award winners will be revealed at the 43rd Annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism to be held in Little Rock at the Statehouse Convention Center March 12-14, 2017. The awards ceremony will take place during the Governor’s Banquet on Tuesday, March 14, at noon. The Henry Awards honor Henri de Tonti, the man historians consider to be among the first “Arkansas Travelers.”

During the Henry Awards ceremonies, the Tourism Person of the Year will also be announced. Selected by former honorees, the Tourism Person of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual who has been actively involved in tourism and who has made a substantial contribution, within the past year, to the betterment of the tourism industry as a whole.

The awards and respective finalists are:

The Media Support Award, which is presented annually to a distinguished individual or organization for extraordinary attention to and/or support of Arkansas’s tourism industry through the use of media.

  • Arkansas Living, Little Rock
  • Roby Brock, Little Rock
  • Ned Perme, Little Rock

The Bootstrap Award, which is presented annually to an individual, organization, or community that has achieved significant success “on a shoestring,” having limited means to work with, either in resources or finances.

  • Sarah French, Perry
  • Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, Eureka Springs
  • World Cheese Dip Championship, Little Rock

The Arkansas Heritage Award, which is presented annually to an individual, organization, or community that has made a significant contribution toward the preservation of some aspect of Arkansas’s natural, cultural or aesthetic legacy.

  • Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, Pine Bluff
  • Ozark Highlands Radio, Mountain View
  • Parkin Archeological State Park, Parkin

The Grand Old Classic Special Event Award, which is presented annually to a festival, fair or other special celebration that has “stood the test of time” and become an established example to follow.

  • Arkansas Derby, Hot Springs
  • Cave City Watermelon Festival
  • World Championship Cardboard Boat Races, Heber Springs

The Outstanding Volunteer Service Award, which is presented annually to a community, individual or organization that, through outstanding volunteer spirit, has made a substantial contribution to Arkansas’s tourism industry.

  • Kent Butler, Eureka Springs
  • Ross Cowling, Texarkana
  • Elizabeth Gaines, Pine Bluff

The Community Tourism Development Award, which is presented annually to a community or organization that has achieved substantial success in the enhancement of its local resources through imaginative and innovative development efforts.

  • Harrison Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Southside Main Street (SOMA), Little Rock
  • The Unexpected, Fort Smith

The Natural State Award, which is presented annually to a community, organization, special event or attraction that “stands out in the crowd” because of its unique appeal, media coverage, creative approach and/or enhancement of community pride, thus benefiting the state’s quality of life.

  • Tour duh Sunken Lands, Tyronza
  • Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion (AMP), Rogers
  • West Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau

For more information on the 43rd Annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism, contact the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism at 501-682-1088. For specific information on the Henry Awards, contact Kristine Puckett at 501-682-5240.