What to Do This Weekend: Rain or Shine, We've Got You Covered

March 13, 2021

Business

A Year in Review: 2020 Marks Worst Year in History for Travel Industry

NWA Daily (21C Hotel; Bentonville)

Yesterday marked the day when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 an international pandemic and changed our lives forever. March 12, 2020 was just the beginning, and we didn't know what we didn't know. So, looking back what changed?

  • Across NWA, both tourism and business-travel nearly halted. At one point, Visit Bentonville saw a 30% decline in receipts for lodging and restaurants. Omitting the 2009 recession numbers the City of Bentonville has seen a "year-over-year growth for 15 years" said, Kalene Griffith, President and CEO of Visit Bentonville.

  • Prior to the pandemic, weekday hotel occupancy rates in the area were hitting 80-100% Monday-Wednesdays, with the cease in travel, those occupancy rates quickly dropped to around 15-20% per night. Additionally, Northwest Arkansas National Airport passenger numbers were down in the 80-90% ranges.

  • However, activity seems to be picking back up and hotel owners are hopeful for the future. The main driver? Sports. With Fayetteville hosting the NCAA Men's and Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships, local hotels, which were nearly empty a year ago, are now seeing a total swing with occupancy rates increasing - Talk Business & Politics

Community

Arkansas' Tourism Ticker Released

NWA Daily (Northwest Arkansas National Airport)

The Arkansas Tourism Ticker reports the recent changes to the tourism industry in the state. The 2020 Tourism Ticker noted significant losses across the state and region, but also surprising growth as well.

  • The Ticker saw an 18% decrease in hospitality tax revenue in January-December 2020 among 17 Arkansas cities compared to 2019. There was a 22.7% tax decrease in collections of Arkansas’ 2% statewide tourism tax. Arkansas tourism industry jobs also saw a 14.35% decline across the state in 2020 compared to 2019.

  • Benton and Washington Counties took some of the biggest hits on the 2% tourism
    tax collections in January-December 2020. Benton County collected $1.3 million,
    down 47%, and Washington County collected $880,467,
    down 42.5% from 2019.

  • With Arkansas travel and tourism average monthly jobs down more than 14%, NWA saw a decline as well. For January-December 2020, NWA averaged 24,750 monthly jobs, down 4.8% from 2019.

  • The good stuff: In 2020, The City of Fayetteville was the first U.S. city to be named a "Bike City" by the Union Cyclist Internationale; The Arkansas Arts Center has rebranded as the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts and announced an expansion of its $128 million capital campaign to
    a new goal of $142 million.

  • Find the full report HERE.

Business

AcreTrader Raises $12M in Series A Funding

NWA Daily (Rural Washington County)

AcreTrader, a Fayetteville-based investing platform, has raised a $12 million Series A funding round, led by Jump Capital. AcreTrader makes investing in farmland easy and accessible, allowing individuals to purchase shares of farmland in a matter of minutes online.

  • In summary: AcreTrader enables investors to create passive income streams and assists farmers in accessing farmland. Through a variety of rent options, AcreTrader is able to provide financing models to the agriculture industry and help entrepreneurial farmers grow their operations. -AcreTrader

  • “As a company that seeks to support and connect farmers and investors in a way that no one else is, we’re humbled by this monumental growth, and look forward to leveraging these new funds to continue on that trajectory," said Carter Malloy, founder and CEO of AcreTrader.

  • Just in the last year, AcreTrader has doubled its employee count, concluded two rounds of funding (seed and Series A), quadrupled its investor pool, increased the total funds raised by 12x, and garnered investors from 48 states.

  • AcreTrader is expanding its board of directors by bringing on Peter Johnson of Jump Capital and Kenny Traynom, former COO of Westchester Group. “Farmland investing is becoming increasingly sought after in the current macroeconomic environment... I'm also looking forward to joining the company’s board of directors to help guide the company as it drives the charge to modernize farmland transactions," said Johnson.

Travel

Upgrade Your Staycation in NWA

NWA Daily (Artist Point)

After a year of quarantines, mask mandates and social depravation, its time to get away - even if it's in your backyard. Leisurlist has put together your official guide for stay-cationing right here in NWA. Go ahead, treat yo'self.

  • Farmer's Markets: Local farmers markets are set to open mid-April and are some of the most consistently popular destinations on Saturday mornings in NWA. Here's your guide.

  • Hiking, Trails and Caves: We could be here all day - our favorites are Devil's Den, Mount Kessler, War Eagle Cavern and Artist Point.

  • Day Trips: Eureka Springs, Cassville, Missouri and Tulsa, Oklahoma are just a quick drive away from NWA. Heck, we might as well be in California.

  • Art, axe-throwing and more: View the full list HERE. There's something for everyone.

Weekend Roundup

Patio Weather and Live Music: Your NWA Weekend Roundup

NWA Daily (Bentonville Brewing Co.; Bentonville)

We'll make this short and sweet - here's what's going on this weekend in NWA.

  • IMO best patio vibes in NWA:
    • Bentonville: Pressroom, Louise, Bentonville Brewing.
    • Fayetteville: Feed and Folly, Sassy's Red House, Theos.
    • Springdale: Sassafras Wine Vineyard, Wellingtons, Black Apple Hard Cider.
    • Siloam Springs and Eureka Springs: Pour Jons
      (Siloam), Jack Rabbett's Whisky Bar (Eureka).

  • Has anyone else missed live music?: More information HERE on live music in Bentonville, Eureka Springs, Fayetteville, Bella Vista and Lowell.

  • Mid-South Grassroutes: For the serious cyclists out there, Puritan and OGC is hosting a weekend full of gravel riding. More information about the 50 and 100 mile routes can be found HERE

  • Art gallery opening: Fayetteville artist Mark Jackson has created a new gallery space in north Fayetteville, and the new spot will be open to the public for the first time this weekend. T
    he gallery, called VELESERO, is located at 7200 S Pleasant Ridge Drive. -Fayetteville Flyer

  • In The Atrium: In The Atrium is a brand new Walton Arts Center experience that gives local artists a space to perform and entertain. Here's the lineup for March.

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