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Central Arkansas tourism officials preparing for next year's solar eclipse

A child in Charlottesville, Va., uses eclipse glasses to safely watch the August 2017 solar eclipse.
A child in Charlottesville, Va., uses eclipse glasses to safely watch the August 2017 solar eclipse.

Arkansas tourism officials are already planning for an influx of visitors for next year’s total solar eclipse. Little Rock and several other cities in Arkansas will lie in the path of totality of the eclipse, and that’s expected to lead to an uptick in tourists visiting the region.

Libby Doss Lloyd, spokesperson for the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, says it will likely be the city’s largest event since the opening of the Clinton Presidential Center.

“We saw a huge influx of traffic on that grand opening in November of 2004, and then really the first few years to follow that because we had so much international visitation,” Lloyd said. “But the eclipse is definitely going to be huge.”

Lloyd says the LRCVB has begun working with the state Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism to coordinate special events programming surrounding the eclipse. She says industry partners have already begun preparing just less than a year out.

“Infrastructure is going to be a really important topic. I think you’re going to have to really think about your traffic flow. We’ve already started communications with our hotel partners, because everything we’re hearing, hotels are going to be booked throughout the city,” she said.

Lloyd says the LRCVB’s website will serve as a hub for all local programming related to the eclipse. She says, though the eclipse itself will last only a matter of minutes, they’re seeking to make it a multi-day affair.

“I think this is really going to be a game-changer for us, and the fact that it is going to be on a Monday… we’re really promoting that as a long weekend opportunity; have people come in on a Thursday, Friday, stay the weekend, stay over obviously for the eclipse on that Monday and even Tuesday,” Lloyd said.

According to NASA, the solar eclipse will reach totality in Little Rock on Monday, April 8, 2024 at around 1:51 in the afternoon. Other central Arkansas cities like Conway, Hot Springs and Russellville will also be in the path of totality.

Daniel Breen is News Director of Little Rock Public Radio.