Finalists named for 2023 Henry Awards

Arkansas Tourism

The winners of the Arkansas Tourism Henry Awards will be revealed on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 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. 

The award categories and finalists are: 

The Natural State Tourism Development Award

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.

  • Beans, Greens & Cornbread/Delta Roots Music Festival – Helena-West Helena
  • Experience Fayetteville’s ArtCourt
  • Railyard Park & Butterfield Stage – Rogers

Tourism Organization of the Year

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.

  • Experience Fayetteville
  • North Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Searcy Regional Chamber of Commerce

Tourism Attraction of the Year

Recognizing the contribution of local attractions in drawing visitors, delivering excellence in customer service and enhancing the profile of the area.

  • Buffalo National River
  • Delta Dirt Distillery – Helena-West Helena
  • Museum of Discovery – Little Rock

Rising Star Award

Presented to a young tourism professional in recognition of specific accomplishments, demonstrated leadership and commitment to the industry.  

  • Lacey Hendrix – Beard and Lady Inn
  • Grace Pepler – Dogwood Hills Guest Farm
  • Luke Wiggins – Visit Rogers

Tourism Region of the Year

Presented to one of Arkansas’s 12 Regional Tourist Associations for excellence over the course of the previous year.

  • Arkansas Delta Byways
  • Arkansas River Valley Tri-Peaks

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, who is often hailed as the first “Arkansas Traveler.”

During the awards ceremony, the Tourism Person of the Year Award 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 Tourism Hall of Fame Award is presented the previous day of the conference, recognizing individuals who have been actively involved for many years in tourism and have made substantial contributions to the betterment of the industry. This year’s inductees are Benjamin Fruehauf III and Paula Miles.

For more information on the 49th annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism, contact Arkansas Tourism at 501-682-5240. For specific information on the Henry Awards, contact Jessica Frahm at 501-682-1926.

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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