Editor’s note: The Arkansas Tourism Ticker is sponsored by the Arkansas Hospitality Association.
Arkansas’ tourism industry posted broad gains in employment and revenue during 2016, with the annual numbers up against tough comparisons with robust growth in 2015.
The 2016 Arkansas Tourism Ticker report shows a 4% gain in hospitality tax revenue among 17 Arkansas cities reviewed for the report, a 4.36% increase in collections of the state’s 2% tourism tax, and a 1.58% increase in Arkansas tourism industry jobs compared to 2015.
In 2015, the report showed a 7.41% increase in hospitality tax revenue among the 17 Arkansas cities, an 8.31% increase in collections of the state’s 2% tourism tax, and a 5.04% increase in Arkansas tourism industry jobs compared to 2014.
The Arkansas Tourism Ticker is managed by Talk Business & Politics, and sponsored by the Arkansas Hospitality Association. The ticker uses the following three measurements to review the health of the state’s tourism industry.
• Hospitality tax collections – prepared food tax and lodging tax – of 17 Arkansas cities (cities listed below along with collections for each city);
• Tourism sector employment numbers as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; and
• Collections of Arkansas’ 2% statewide tourism tax.
The combined hospitality tax collections in the 17 cities totaled $45.007 million in 2016, up 4% compared to the $43.275 million in the same period of 2015.
Restaurant (prepared food tax) tax collections among the 17 cities totaled $33.233 million in 2016, up 3.7% compared to the $32.047 million in 2015. Hotel tax collections among the 17 cities totaled $11.774 million in 2016, up 4.86% compared to the $11.227 million in the same period of 2015.
Of the 17 cities surveyed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker, four posted hospitality tax collection declines in 2016 (El Dorado, down 7.39%; Pine Bluff, down 4.37%; Rogers, down 2.07%; and Russellville, down 1.76%).
Collections of Arkansas’ 2% tourism tax in 2015 totaled $14.815 million, up 8.31% compared to the $13.677 million in 2014. The record collections marked the first time the tax topped $14 million and marks the fifth consecutive year of year-over-year gains of the tax.
The monthly jobs average in the state’s travel and tourism sector during 2015 was 113,500, up 5.04% compared to an average of 108,050 during 2014. Travel and tourism sector employment ranged from a low of 112,000 in October to a high of 116,000 in December. The December level, if not revised, set a new record for the sector. Travel and tourism sector employment during 2014 ranged from a 106,200 low in January to a high of 113,100 in December.
Link here for the full PDF report of The Arkansas Tourism Ticker.