Tourism to Little Rock Quacks Up Big Numbers Courtesy Clinton Presidential Library & Peabody Ducks

LITTLE ROCK, AR — (MARKET WIRE) — 02/08/2006 — One year after the William Jefferson Clinton Library & Center opened, tourism to Little Rock has taken flight. And, at The Peabody Little Rock, those Peabody Ducks have some quacking good news about business at their AAA Four Diamond luxurious digs.

They’ve even got their own Peabody Duck Stop on the new Central Arkansas Transit Authority’s trolley system, described as the nicest Arkansas by Little Rock Mayor Daley. Now, local residents, guests from The Peabody and other local hotels, can board the vintage trolley car and take a scenic ride through downtown. In the near future, the trolley will complete the extended track to take them to President Clinton’s place down the street.

“2005 was a banner year for our hotel, and the projections for 2006 are even better,” said Todd Scholl, director of sales and marketing for the 418-room property that was re-flagged as a Peabody in 2002. “The Clinton presidential library has had an enormous, positive impact on tourism to Little Rock. Thanks to people such as Skip Rutherford, chairman of the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Foundation, and Dan O’Byrne, chief executive officer of the Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau, Little Rock is now firmly on the national — and international tourism map.

“On New Year’s Eve, some 2,300 people instead of the anticipated 1,500, welcomed in 2006 at our hotel. At 11pm, we closed our doors to ensure we could provide our famous Peabody service in comfort and style to those already inside.”

Tennessee based Smith Travel Research reports that Little Rock’s City Fathers are well pleased with the upsurge in tax revenues, taking in 10 percent more on restaurant and hotel taxes over last year. Demand for Little Rock’s hotel rooms was 12 percent higher than in 2004 and roughly 7 percent higher than in 2000, the year before 9/11.

Confirming all of the good news, Dan O’Byrne, CEO, Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau is excited at the success his city is enjoying and plans to ensure the trend continues. “It is gratifying that all segments of Little Rock’s tourism product experienced increased business across the board. Our restaurants, retail, museums, arts and culture, showed significant increases over 2005. For example, visits to the Little Rock Central High School National Historic site, soared 50 percent, from 28,836 in 2004, to 44,293 in 2005. But, we don’t want 2005 to be an anomaly. Realistically, we will look for a 2 to 3 percent increase in tax collections for 2006,” said O’Byrne.

The Peabody Little Rock is an AAA Four Diamond property of Peabody Hotels within the portfolio of Peabody Hotel Group, of Memphis, Tennessee.

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