Norma Sims named Tourism Person of the Year; Arkansas Delta Byways receives Tourism Region of the Year

The winners of the Arkansas Tourism Henry Awards were recently celebrated during the 49th annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism in El Dorado Feb. 26-28. The awards recognize outstanding accomplishment in Arkansas’s tourism industry and are named for Henri de Tonti, founder of Arkansas Post in 1686, who is often hailed as the first “Arkansas Traveler.”

The Henry Award recipients were: 

Tourism Person of the Year: Norma Sims, Harrison
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. Selected by former honorees.

Tourism Region of the Year: Arkansas Delta Byways
Presented to one of Arkansas’s 12 Regional Tourist Associations for excellence over the course of the previous year.

The Natural State Tourism Development Award: Experience Fayetteville’s ArtCourt
Presented to a community, organization, program, or attraction for an innovative project that “stands out from the crowd” with a unique appeal or creative approach that increases pride and placemaking.

Tourism Organization of the Year: Experience Fayetteville
Presented to a convention and visitors bureau, advertising and promotion commission, chamber of commerce or other entity for excellence over the course of the previous year.

Tourism Attraction of the Year: Delta Dirt Distillery, Helena-West Helena
Recognizing the contribution of local attractions in drawing visitors, delivering excellence in customer service and enhancing the profile of the area.

Rising Star Award: Grace Pepler, Dogwood Hills Guest Farm
Presented to a young tourism professional in recognition of specific accomplishments, demonstrated leadership and commitment to the industry.

Arkansas Tourism
Arkansas Tourism, a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, strives to expand the economic impact of travel and tourism in the state and enhance the quality of life for all Arkansans. The division manages 14 Arkansas Welcome Centers and employs more than 60 staff members across The Natural State. For more information, visit

Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism
The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism protects and promotes our state’s natural, cultural and historic assets, contributing to a thriving economy and high quality of life. It is made up of three divisions: Arkansas State Parks, Arkansas Heritage and Arkansas Tourism. Mike Mills serves as the cabinet secretary for the department.

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