The Pine Bluff Advertising and Promotion Commission promoted Jimmy Cunningham, Jr. to Tourism Development Director, effective Jan. 1.

In this role, Cunningham will manage tourism product development initiatives to build Pine Bluff as a premier destination for cultural heritage tourism, agritourism, ecotourism, and culinary tourism. Cunningham, whose previous work with the A&P Commission as Interpretive Coordinator helped develop award-winning digital media content, a cultural district framework, music themed tours and other products will continue to work in concert with the Executive Director, Sheri Storie.

Together they will fulfill the overall mission of strengthening the community by enhancing the tourism economy through developing and providing culturally rich, diverse, and inclusive visitor experiences.

“I am thrilled that Mr. Cunningham will be joining our team on a full-time basis. His profound experience and knowledge, as well as his insight and passion for Pine Bluff’s tourism industry, is vital to our success. He has been, and will continue to be, an essential part of our team while developing and promoting tourism in the city.”

Cunningham is a Pine Bluff native and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and a Master of Arts Degree in Public Administration from Grambling State University. He is the author of two books on regional history and has contributed numerous other articles on Blues, African American history, and Delta culture. His public speaking, voice-over acting, and interests in Southern cuisine (particularly catfish) are integral parts of his professional and personal portfolio.

“What an incredible opportunity this is to give back to my hometown and to expand an important part of our local economy,” said Cunningham. “Pine Bluff has so much potential because of its rich historical and cultural narratives. We have to build infrastructure around these narratives and then market them so we can draw tourists to our borders. I’m ready to help lead that charge.”