Reports show gains in Fort Smith metro tourism and travel sector

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 287 views 

Several key tourism and travel numbers indicate growth in the Fort Smith metro leisure and hospitality sector, with Fort Smith Regional Airport enplanements up almost 5% between January and July.

Data from the Arkansas Tourism Ticker shows Fort Smith hospitality tax revenue totaled $277,706 between January and April, up 2.1% from the same period in 2018. Hospitality tax revenue in Van Buren during the four-month period was $192,368, up 1.8% compared with the same period in 2018.

Enplanements out of the Fort Smith Regional Airport totaled 53,814 between January and July, up 4.7% compared with the 51,384 in the same period of 2018. July enplanements totaled 9,030, up 8.5% compared with July 2018.

Traffic on American Airlines out of Fort Smith totaled 38,160 in the January-July period, up 7.5% compared with the same period in 2018. Delta enplanements totaled 15,654 in the seven-month period, down from the 15,902 in the same period of 2018.

Enplanements at the airport in 2018 were up for the third straight year. They totaled 90,501 in 2018, up from 89,582 in 2017 and 87,488 in 2016. Following are the previous five years of enplanement totals.
2018: 90,501
2017: 89,582
2016: 87,488
2015: 86,704
2014: 92,869

Average monthly employment in the Fort Smith metro leisure and hospitality sector was 9,330 between January and April, up 1.63% from the 9,180 during the same period of 2018, but down from the 9,480 in the first four months of 2017. The January-April 2019 monthly average is up 12.4% from the same period in 2010.

ARKANSAS TOURISM TICKER
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;
• 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 Jan.-April 2019 Tourism Ticker report are:
• 3.9% increase
Hospitality tax revenue in Jan.-April 2019 among 17 Arkansas cities reviewed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker compared with the same period in 2018

• 5.2% increase
Collections of Arkansas’ 2% statewide tourism tax in Jan.-April 2019 compared with the same period in 2018

• 3.1% increase
Increase in monthly average of Arkansas’ tourism industry jobs in Jan.-April 2019 compared with the same period in 2018

The combined hospitality tax collections in the 17 cities totaled $17.129 million in Jan.-April 2019, up 3.9% compared with the $16.483 million in the same period in 2018. The combined hospitality tax collections in the 17 cities totaled $50.847 million in 2018, up 2.36% compared with the $49.319 million in 2017.

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