Napper to leave Arkansas tourism director job

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,027 views 

Arkansas Tourism Director Travis Napper is leaving the post in June after more than three years of helping manage the state’s leisure and hospitality sector survive and pull through a global pandemic.

Napper, who will depart the job June 23, was hired April 1, 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic effectively closed the national and state tourism and business traveler markets.

“Travis was hired as State Tourism Director right before the pandemic. The challenges the Division of Tourism faced were unprecedented but with his help the tourism industry recovered more quickly than other states,” said Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism Secretary Mike Mills. “I enjoyed working with Travis and wish him and his family the best in this next chapter.”

The ADPHT, the parent agency of Arkansas Tourism, said during his tenure that Arkansas logged record visitation and 2% tourism tax collections. Arkansas’ 2% tourism tax revenue in 2022 was $24.049 million, up 17% compared with the $20.544 million in 2021. Revenue set a new monthly record in June of $2.528 million, with collections for each month topping $1 million for the first time. The state’s 2% tourism tax revenue fell almost 23% in 2020 and fell to levels not seen since 2014.

“I will cherish the many memories, friends, and experiences I made while in this role. I have learned so much and been inspired throughout my time in this position,” Napper said in a statement. “I look forward to the new opportunity and challenges.”

Prior to arriving in Arkansas, Napper worked as the president and CEO of the Ruston Lincoln Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau in Ruston, La., and was director of orientation and special programs at Louisiana Tech University 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.

Arkansas Tourism Director Travis Napper

He has served on several boards including the Northern Louisiana Medical Center, the Destinations International Foundation and the Louisiana Travel Association. His work has garnered a number of awards including the Southeast Tourism Society’s 2020 Shining Example Award for Tourism Office of the Year and the Louisiana Travel Association’s Louey Awards in 2019 for Outstanding Convention and Visitors Bureau of the Year and in 2018 for Festival/Event of the Year.

After leaving the state’s tourism director job, Napper will be the director of Destination Partnerships for Oxford, England-based Oxford Economics. After leaving the state’s tourism director job, Napper will be the director of Destination Partnerships for Oxford, England-based Oxford Economics. Oxford works with more than 300 companies and associations to provide tourism related research for the purpose of making better marketing, investment, and policy decisions. The research includes global travel data, economic analysis, demographic outlooks, and policy analysis for taxation and other funding decisions.