Arkansas’ tourism industry off to a good start in early 2020, but … the COVID

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 442 views 

Arkansas’ 2% tourism tax revenue in January and February was up 13.2% compared with the same period in 2019. The tax was up 7.2% in 2019. February revenue of $1.366 million set a new monthly record for the tax.

January-February hospitality tax collections among 17 cities surveyed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker were up 3.8% compared with the same period in 2019. The tourism tax revenue in the cities was up 5.2% in 2019. The only drop in the report was in monthly average employment in the tourism sector.

The first two months reflect economic realities before significant economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Numbers from the first two months of 2020 are up against broad gains in 2019. Collections of Arkansas’ 2% tourism set a new record in 2019 and hospitality tax collections among 17 Arkansas cities surveyed for the Arkansas Tourism ticker topped the $53 million mark in 2019. The year marked the fifth 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.-Feb. 2020 Tourism Ticker report are:
• 3.8% increase
Hospitality tax revenue in Jan.-Feb. 2020 among 17 Arkansas cities reviewed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker compared with the same period in 2019

• 13.2% increase
Collections of Arkansas’ 2% statewide tourism tax in Jan.-Feb. 2020 compared with the same period in 2019

• 0.04% decrease
Decrease in monthly average of Arkansas’ tourism industry jobs in Jan.-Feb. 2020 compared with the same period in 2019

The combined hospitality tax collections in the 17 cities totaled $8.105 million in Jan.-Feb. 2020, up 3.8% compared with the $7.806 million in the same period in 2019. Monthly average tourism sector jobs in Jan.-Feb. 2020 was 120,050, down 0.04% compared with 120,100 in the same period of 2019. The sector reached record monthly employment of 120,800 in July 2019.

Link here for the full PDF report of the Jan-Feb. 2020 Arkansas Tourism Ticker.

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

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