UARM to Host Conference on Tourism

The Director of Tourism Travis Napper will be the keynote address at the University of Arkansas Rich Mountain’s (UARM) upcoming Tourism Conference slated for October 5.


Napper took the lead of the department in 2020. He had previously led the Ruston Lincoln Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau in Ruston, La. As the president and CEO. Prior to that he was director of orientation and special programs at Louisiana Tech University, also in Ruston. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Louisiana Tech University and earned the Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) designation in 2016.


“We are thrilled to have the Director of Tourism join us for the conference. Clearly, it is a testament of the significant developments coming to our area that will bolster an already thriving and growing tourism industry,” said conference organizer LeAnn Dilbeck who serves as the Vice Chancellor for External Affairs & Communications at UARM.


Noting the rapidly increasing local tourism industry, Dilbeck said that the conference was designed specificially to:

1.) bring all of the tourism stakeholders, both private and public, together to network;

2.) increase awareness of various entities and services that can bring added exposure to help grow their business;

3.) to educate the community, as a whole, of multiple large tourism developments/events in the local area over the next couple of years.


“Mena is poised to see phenomenal growth in the tourism industry in the coming months and it is important that the community be well informed and have working relationships with each other to fully capitalize on upcoming opportunities as well as establish a foundation that will allow us to maintain a thriving tourism industry,” Dilbeck added. “As a college, we want to support that growth and be a resource to our community.”


Napper will discuss the strength Arkansas tourism exhibited during the height of the pandemic, much unlike other tourism destinations who suffered record loss in tourists. He will also discuss the importance of preparing for the upcoming Solar Eclipse coming in 2024, in which parts of Polk County will experience a 100% total eclipse. He will discuss the departments efforts to bring tourist to the state as well as share valuable free resources available to local business owners in the tourism industry.


We will have a number of other local speakers that will share local resources, branding, building an audience with social media, etc.


This conference will be beneficial to anyone in the local tourism industry, hotels, motels, cabin rentals, AirBnBs, VRBOs, restaurants, retail, event venues/planners but is certainly open to anyone interested in community development and the positive economic impact brought through tourism dollars.


Mayor Seth Smith encourages the community to participate with the conference. “I am grateful to UA Rich Mountain for bringing all of these speakers together for a one-day event. It’s a great way to bring awareness to multiple projects and developments coming to our area as well as educating those in the industry of all the resources available to them.”


The event is $25/person and open to the community. It will begin at 9 am and conclude by 3 pm. Participants will need to register by September 30. Register by calling 479.394.6805 or by emailing ldilbeck@uarichmountain.edu.


UA Rich Mountain’s mission is to provide transformative education to all learners. 


9-15-22 4:00 PM KAWX.ORG