EUREKA SPRINGS -- The price of gas and the reopening of the Gulf Coast might be concerns for the Eureka Springs tourism season according to Mike Maloney, executive director of the City Advertising and Promotion Commission. He was speaking at the CAPC workshop on March 14 about what he had learned at the recent Governor's Conference on Tourism, and said the state tourism industry is watching these factors just as the locals are.
Maloney also told commissioners that the advertising emphasis is turning toward television, and commissioner Joe Joy asked if state ads still try to sell the whole state.
Maloney said he saw plenty of ads, and in them he would see the Clinton Library, Crystal Bridges, Eureka Springs and a few other cultural things, but not any, "Come on down and fish with us."
"They consider that Crystal Bridges is the biggest thing going on, and that's good for us," Maloney said, adding he did not see an ad that did not include Eureka Springs.
Chair Charles Ragsdell suggested the CAPC try to get the governor's conference for Eureka Springs, and Maloney said he would work hard at it next time around. He added that the Eureka Springs contingent had the strongest presence of any group at the convention.
Ragsdell told commissioners that auditing tax collecting procedures of businesses in town would make people pay attention to proper collecting and reporting. Finance director Rick Bright said he had called some CPAs in Rogers and Fayetteville to get an idea of what the CAPC would pay for hiring an auditor to do the work. He said he learned that they should do it in the summer, not now when CPAs are in high demand and, therefore, quite expensive.
Ragsdell said that to save money, the CAPC could perform a pre-audit review of a business to determine if there is a need for a more thorough investigation. Bright answered that just the threat of auditing has done wonders for the collection and reporting process, and since they announced their intention to pursue delinquent businesses, almost all have caught up. He also noted that Police Chief Earl Hyatt has supported their efforts by stepping up the delivery of summonses. Bright said the situation might improve itself enough that audits are not required.
Commissioner Butch Berry commented that internal audits might make a difference as well, however he said with the large revenue increase in this year's budget, Bright and Maloney should watch this closely.
Joy suggested Maloney explore a relationship with the Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow and engage residents there to write about Eureka Springs.
Maloney commented that he felt it was an exceptional idea, and he already has "a stellar relationship" with the Writers' Colony. He agreed they have the capability to do great things for the CAPC and the city. He also pointed out that they have some notable connections which can only help.
The next meeting will be Wednesday, March 28, at 6 p.m.