HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KTHV) - In Hot Springs, tourism is booming. Hotels are booked, dinner reservations are made all just in time for the unusually beautiful weather and a new hotel coming to Main Street.
More than 3 million people stay in Hot Springs every year and this year that number is expected to grow. With all of those people coming to the area, business owners said there should be plenty for them to do during their stay.
Steve Arrison, CEO for Visit Hot Springs, said more than six million people visit the area every year bringing in a lot of tourists and a lot of revenue.
"More and more visitors keep coming and so it’s great that we have new hotels, restaurants along with all of the other great restaurants and hotels that have been here to shoulder the load and take care of those visitors," Arrison said.
Now is the time when hotels and restaurants begin to take more calls and book more reservations. Chris Wolcott, General Manager for the brand new Water Hotel, said reservations are already halfway full for the month of March and their doors aren't even open yet.
"We are looking at putting these final touches on a final push here so that we can get the door open and try to get people in within the next week or two,” Wolcott said.
But, with so many events throughout the month he and other hotels are confident tourist will have plenty of things to do.
Co-owner of The Water Hotel, Robert Zunick said bringing business to downtown is something he's always wanted to do. He's looking forward to providing a space where tourist can stay, eat and enjoy local foods.
"I have lived in Hot Springs for 35 years and stared up at these empty buildings,” Zunick said. “They've been vacant for probably 40 years."
But it doesn’t stop there for Zunick.
He's working with other business owners trying to bring more tourist attractions to the area. For now, the city is preparing for tourist flocking to the area for horse racing, basketball tournaments, and St. Patrick’s Day just in time for some beautiful weather.
"It's always a great day when you get some more first class hotel rooms and this addition of 62 rooms to Hot Springs National Park Arkansas,” Arrison said. “It’s a great day for the city, and it’s really good for our tourist and visitors."
The 14th annual World's Shortest Saint Patrick's Day parade kicks off March 17th followed by so many more fun events. For a complete listing, you can find that information here.