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Arkansas Tourism Officials Encourage People To Take Action On ‘Plan For Vacation Day’

Withrow Springs at Huntsville, which features a 150-foot high bluff overlooking the creek and Ozark Mountains, is one of the places touted for vacations in Arkansas. Arkansas State Parks
Arkansas State Parks

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted officials to encourage people not to travel, causing the cancellation of many vacation plans. But the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism and its partners are urging residents to enjoy some time off while staying in the state.

Tuesday was National Plan for Vacation Day, with officials saying there are plenty of things to do while remaining safe. Tourism is a vital part of the state's economy.

Department Secretary Stacy Hurst said in a press release that people “have a wide variety of choices when considering what to do in Arkansas. From Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to incredible new hiking and biking trails, we have something for everyone. A trip in the Natural State is the perfect getaway.”

Spokeswoman Meg Matthews says research shows 77% of people don’t use all of their employer-paid vacation days, resulting in a lack of work productivity. She is encouraging residents to take advantage of amenities in their home states.

“Many residents in our surrounding states still come into Arkansas across our invisible border, and especially visit our state parks because it is COVID friendly,” Matthews said. “You can maintain social distancing, you’re outside, you can rent a cabin or campsite and stay with the people that you have been living and working with all this time.”

Tuesday being designated for vacation planning was intended to help push people to formalize their plans, she said.

“When people actually plan their vacations, then they will take them. A lot of times people think about vacations and then don’t do anything about it, and so this way, they will plan the vacation, put their down payment down, and then take the vacation,” Matthews said. “That helps in terms of the tourism industry, and generating those tourism dollars. And then it also helps the people who are taking a vacation, because frankly they need to.”

To stay safe during the pandemic, Matthews encourages Arkansans to think about planning their vacation within the state because they are already familiar with COVID guidelines enforced here. She says vacation rentals are cleaned to CDC recommendations.

To get an idea of where vacationers can visit, the 2021 Arkansas Travel Guide is now available at welcome centers and tourism locations. An online guide can be found here.

Hurst said in another press release from Arkansas Tourism, “For those of us who call the Natural State home, the virtues of the state are clear – stunning scenic views, compelling sites and award-winning culinary opportunities. We hope the 2021 Travel Guide will help you explore these places.”