Jobs, city hospitality revenue and the state’s 2% tourism tax all showed gains in 2017, even up against tough comparisons with healthy gains in 2016, according to the Arkansas Tourism Ticker. The only surprise was a dip in tourism industry jobs in central Arkansas.
Collections of Arkansas’ 2% tourism set a record of $15.897 million in 2017, and also marked the eighth consecutive year of revenue growth.
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.
2017 marked the third consecutive year of growth as measured by the Arkansas Tourism Ticker. The 2016 Arkansas Tourism Ticker report showed 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.
Results for the 2017 Tourism Ticker report are:
• 2.18% increase
Hospitality tax revenue in 2017 among 17 Arkansas cities reviewed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker compared with 2016 revenue
• 2.8% increase
Collections of Arkansas’ 2% statewide tourism tax in 2017 compared with 2016.
• 2.94% increase
Increase in Arkansas’ tourism industry jobs in 2017 compared with 2016.
“It is very encouraging news to see year-over year-numbers increase. Travel and hospitality are still a dominant force in our state’s economy. The jobs increase once again is very good news,” McNulty noted.
The combined hospitality tax collections in the 17 cities totaled $45.989 million in 2017, up 2.18% compared with the $45.007 million in 2016.
Restaurant (prepared food tax) tax collections among the 17 cities totaled $33.764 million in 2017, up 1.59% compared with the $33.233 million in 2016. Hotel tax collections among the 17 cities totaled $12.224 million in 2017, up 3.82% compared with the $11.774 million in 2016.
Of the 17 cities surveyed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker, five posted hospitality tax collection declines for the year (El Dorado, down 7.86%; Fort Smith, down 4.08%; Jonesboro, down 2.64%; Springdale, down 0.76%; and Fayetteville, down 0.17%). Of the 12 cities with gains, the range was a 26.82% gain in Rogers and a 0.56% gain in Pine Bluff.
The state’s tourism tax revenue totaled $15.897 million in 2017, up 2.8% compared with the same period in 2016. Arkansas’ 2% tourism tax generated $15.461 million in 2016, up 4.36% over the $14.815 million in 2015. Collections of Arkansas’ 2% tourism tax hit a monthly record of $1.763 million in June 2017.
Link here for the PDF report of the 2017 Arkansas Tourism Ticker.