Nelson Mandela, Tony Blair and several European leaders have been lined up to attend the 18 November opening, which promises to attract the world’s media and will act as the launch pad for the UK campaign.
Geoff Saltmarsh, MD of The Saltmarsh Partnership, which has been appointed by Destination Arkansas to handle a six-figure PR account, said the marketing for Arkansas, the home state of former US president Clinton, has previously focused on the domestic market.
The consumer PR campaign will target national, regional and travel media but will also focus on specialist outdoor titles to promote the fishing, hiking, canoeing, cycling and bird-watching attractions of a state that features woodland across 60 per cent of its territories and 9,700 miles of rivers.
Saltmarsh said Arkansas will be of particular interest to second or third-time US tourists who had already visited New York, Los Angeles and Florida and were looking for an alternative experience of the country.
Hampered by the fact that there are no international airports in Arkansas, Saltmarsh said the campaign will stress that its capital, Little Rock, is just two-and-a-half hours drive from Memphis. It will draw on historical sites ranging from the Civil War battlefields to Hot Springs.
Clinton’s memorial center will be positioned as a ‘tourist attraction of international standing’, said Saltmarsh, and will act as a museum for his presidential years, featuring a replica of the Oval Office and a library of official documents from his years in the White House.
Saltmarsh is also handling UK travel trade media relations.