The Ozarks - Our Nation's Hidden Gem

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Spanning five states, the Ozark Plateau provides the safe, serene, and beauty that travelers are seeking for vacations and relocation choices.

From Piggot to Pocohontas, Claremore to Crane, and Oswego to Olive Branch. These are just a few of the unique towns along the highways and byways of the Ozark Plateau. Hundreds of these small jewels make the Ozarks such a brilliant gem.

Is the newspaper in Metropolis, Illinois really called The Planet? Is there an actual working gristmill in NW Arkansas? What, exactly is Big Brutus? These typically "unknown" regions are virtual gold mines of history, architecture and natural resources that make them very much a part of "The Ozarks."

Tourism is the fastest growing industry in America. More and more, the Internet and travel go hand in hand. With so many websites catering to the traveler, how does one stand out from the pack? By offering the guest everything they need in one complete, comprehensive location. Three years in the making, The Ozark Tourist Center (OTC) does just that. The OTC represents the entire Ozark Plateau. One website covering a travel destination that encompasses a 5-state area. Northeast and Northwest Arkansas, Central, Southwest and Southeast Missouri have always been considered "The Ozarks." What many people do not realize is that the Ozark Plateau continues into Northeast Oklahoma, Southeast Kansas and Southern Illinois. Chances are, the visitor will be traveling through the Ozarks to get to the Ozarks!

Regional promotion is nearly impossible. Cities cooperating with state advertising programs, on state borders, are prohibited from partnering with cities "just over the line" because one state cannot legally promote another. The main goal of The OTC is to change that. is the only website available that puts everything about the Ozarks in one place.

The site is separated into sections according to each location of the Ozark Plateau. Each area contains information on lodging and dining choices. Things to do and see, including outdoor recreation and State and National Parks which offer camping, water activities, hiking, biking and rock climbing. Information is available about Real Estate and Relocation. Each region has wedding and shopping information. There are even suggestions on what to do with the kids!

Not only has Alexa, the online Internet traffic monitor, rated in the top 1% of all websites visited, the Ozark Tourist Center has already built a subscriber base of almost 100,000 members. Subscribers receive a monthly electronic mail newsletter that provides information on lodging, dining, area attractions, up-coming festivals and events for the entire region.

The OTC offers a public bulletin board, The Town Square, where guests are invited to post questions and comments about a particular area. People that actually live in that area answer those inquiries. The site offers a "do it yourself" itinerary where the guest may build their own trip planner or visitor guide that includes routes, stops they want to make along the way, businesses and attractions they do not want to miss, restaurants to try, and lodging properties they wish to visit. With the simple click of a mouse, you have everything you need without having to wait for individual brochures or vacation packets to arrive in the mail.

After returning from their vacation, guests are offered a Photo Gallery in which to post photos of the places they visited. Many of these photos are of professional quality, documenting fun and interesting sites along the Ozark journey, and may also be used in various places throughout the site. The site contains many articles written not be professional copywriters, but by people that actually live in the area and know first hand what attracts a potential guest to their town.

The Ozark Tourist Center is owned, managed and staffed with knowledgeable tourism professionals. This well seasoned staff has been working to promote Ozark tourism, primarily in the Northwest Arkansas and Southern Missouri areas, for the past 10 years. They have worked for various cities of various sizes, regional groups and private individuals through public and privately funded contracts. "We build and manage our sites with the traveler in mind," said Jan Ridenour, president of the Ozark Tourist Center. "Because we have been in the tourism business more than 17 years and in the Internet tourism business 10 years, we know what the customers want and need to plan their vacations. We know how to get the word out, what travelers want and business people need to succeed. All of our experience has been used in the development of this site."

Positive Idea Marketing, a leader in the production of travel and tourisms sites nationwide, provides site design and custom programming of the site.

For information on The Ozark Tourist Center visit the website at or call 1-800-862-6320 or 479-253-4080

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Jan Ridenour
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