The state’s tourism industry showed signs of moderating in the back half of 2017, but picked up the pace in the first four months of 2018, according to the Arkansas Tourism Ticker. With growth of only 0.8% in January through April, tourism jobs was the only metric to not show a healthy gain.
Collections of Arkansas’ 2% tourism tax is on pace to set a new record and post the ninth consecutive year of revenue growth. Revenue from the tax set a record of $15.897 million in 2017.
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.
Results for the January-April Tourism Ticker report are:
• 7.03% increase
Hospitality tax revenue among 17 Arkansas cities reviewed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker compared with 2017 revenue in the same period
• 0.8%% increase
Increase in Arkansas’ tourism industry jobs compared with the same period in 2017
Montine McNulty, executive director of the Arkansas Hospitality Association, said the increase in revenue gains points to “a great 2018 summer” for the state’s tourism industry.
“All of this means that visitors are coming to our state and spending money. The one report that was flat was the increase in jobs. I believe that is very much an indication of the tight labor market in Arkansas. Anyone needing a job in Arkansas or looking for opportunity needs to look at the tourism industry,” McNulty said.
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.
Link here for a PDF of the January-April 2018 Arkansas Tourism Ticker.