Visit Hot Springs Begins Planning Now for Huge Influx of Visitor's Likely to Flood City for Total Eclipse of the Sun in April 2024 | Hot Springs National Park Arkansas

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Visit Hot Springs Begins Planning Now for Huge Influx of Visitor's Likely to Flood City for Total Eclipse of the Sun in April 2024

Published: 8/4/2020

HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — Visit Hot Springs has begun planning for the possibility — even the likelihood — that a million people will flood into the city on April 8, 2024, to see the total eclipse of the sun.

“Things may look a bit gloomy for tourism right now, given the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic on our city, but Visit Hot Springs is already planning for the future, which is so bright you gotta wear shades!” said Bill Solleder, Visit Hot Springs marketing director who is leading the planning for the 2024 total solar eclipse. “Hot Springs is dead center in the path of totality, which is the narrow strip of the country in which the sun will be totally dark.”

“In 2017, the last solar eclipse visible from North America, Casper, Wyoming — yes, Casper, Wyoming — saw a million people flood into their little town because Casper was in the path of totality,” Solleder said. “They were completely unprepared to accommodate an influx of that size.

“We want to start planning now for Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, to be ready for a flood of people who come from all over the world to see the sun disappear completely in the Earth’s shadow during the eclipse.

“That leaves us plenty of time to begin helping people prepare for the next amazing occurrence.  We want to begin now to help potential visitors book a campsite or choose from numerous hotels and rentals and plan their visit to Hot Springs at the perfect time to see totality happen.

“We’re right now three years and eight months out, but this gives us time to let people know that Hot Springs, with our amazing supply of accommodations, dining options and surrounding attractions, is the perfect place to see this once-in-a-lifetime natural phenomenon.”

Solleder said VHS, with creative work by Marisa Rodgers, the agency’s digital media manager, has created a “micro-website” that has a countdown clock and links that can be used to connect with Visit Hot Springs to locate lodging and other information to begin planning for a trip to the city for the eclipse.

The micro-website is at http://www.totaleclipsearkansas.com/

Solleder was quick to realize the potential visitor bonanza for Hot Springs. Immediately after the 2017 event, he posted a “Save The Date” social media campaign on the Internet pointing out that Hot Springs will be in the path of totality for the 2024 eclipse and urging people to consider coming to the city to view the upcoming event.

That campaign won a Henry Award from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

Solleder then gave a presentation on the eclipse and its potential bonanza for tourism at the Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism in March of this year. He was joined in the presentation by NASA scientist Alex Young to show the tourism industry about the experience Casper, Wyoming, had during the previous eclipse when they were in the path of totality.

“They were unexpectedly overrun with tourists who came to watch the rare occurrence,” Solleder and Young pointed out. “The same will happen for Hot Springs. We at Visit Hot Springs are working way ahead a time to prepare hotels, restaurants and infrastructure for the date.”

For more information call Bill Solleder at 501-321-2027.

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