Two local civic organizations that promote business and tourism are working to foster a welcoming atmosphere for visitors traveling to Van Buren for the Arkansas 2017 High School 7A State Basketball Tournament set for March 1-4.

In coordination with the City of Van Buren, the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce and the Van Buren Advertising and Promotion Commission are putting up welcome signs and packaging information about the city, said Lindsey Brown with the chamber.

“We’re excited the tournament is here in Van Buren and we definitely want to welcome visitors into town and show them what the businesses have to offer,” Brown said.

This year’s tournament is being hosted by Van Buren High School.

Brown said the chamber is working with the city to put up yard signs and banners, and is encouraging local businesses to update their marquee signs with a welcoming message.

Brown also put together a list of Van Buren businesses, including area attractions and hotel, dining and shopping options.

Informational brochures about the city will be provided by the A&P, along with a map of the basketball arena and some restaurants, hotels, attractions, convenience stores and medical facilities.

“We’re just trying to do whatever we can to make it easy for the people coming in for the tournament to find things in town and feel welcome,” said Meryl Koeth, A&P director.

Brown said the chamber will have an informational booth at the tournament. They also are encouraging members to donate items for the players’ gift bags, which are being put together by the school district.

The A&P also provided the school district with a $7,000 sponsorship to help with costs of hosting the tournament, Koeth said.

Supporting the tournament and making the visitors feel welcome benefits everyone, Koeth said.

“It’s good for Van Buren, it’s good for the businesses of Van Buren, when people come into town and we can show our hospitality,” Koeth said.