Arkansas Tourism Ticker: Tourism tax up 6.2%, industry jobs up more than 4%

by Michael Tilley (mtilley@talkbusiness.net) 377 views 

Arkansas’ 2% tourism tax revenue between January and August was up 6.2% compared with the same period in 2018, and also a gain from the 5.2% year-over-year increase through the first six months of 2019. June and July were the first two months the collection was above $1.8 million.

January-August hospitality tax collections among 17 cities surveyed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker were up 5.2% compared with the same period in 2018. That’s also better than the 4.7% gain among the cities during the first six months of 2019.

Numbers from the first eight months of 2019 are up against broad gains in 2018. Collections of Arkansas’ 2% tourism set a new record in 2018 and hospitality tax collections among 17 Arkansas cities surveyed for the Arkansas Tourism ticker topped the $50 million mark in 2018. The year marked the fourth consecutive year of growth as measured by the 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 (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 Jan.-August 2019 Tourism Ticker report are:
• 5.2% increase
Hospitality tax revenue in Jan.-August 2019 among 17 Arkansas cities reviewed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker compared with the same period in 2018

• 6.2% increase
Collections of Arkansas’ 2% statewide tourism tax in Jan.-August 2019 compared with the same period in 2018

• 4.2% increase
Increase in monthly average of Arkansas’ tourism industry jobs in Jan.-August 2019 compared with the same period in 2018

The combined hospitality tax collections in the 17 cities totaled $36.111 million in Jan.-August 2019, up 5.2% compared with the $34.332 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.

Monthly average tourism sector jobs in Jan.-August 2019 was 121,240, up 4.2% compared with 116,450 in the same period of 2018. The sector reached record monthly employment of 123,400 in September.

Link here for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker PDF that provides more details on the state of the industry.

(Kathy Reed with Talk Business & Politics also contributed to this report.)

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