Arkansas Tourism Ticker: Hotel numbers still down, restaurants see slight improvement

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 450 views 

Hotel activity in Arkansas continues to suffer from COVID-19 impacts, with hotel tax revenue in the 17 cities surveyed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker down more than 40% in the first two months of 2021.

Arkansas’ travel and tourism industry, which was enjoying more than a decade of growth, posted double-digit percentage declines in key categories in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic that hit the state in March 2020.

Arkansas’ 2% tourism tax revenue in January-February 2021 was $1.827 million, down 20.5% compared with the $2.3 million in the same period of 2020. The decline is less than the 22.7% for all of 2020.

January-February 2021 hospitality tax collections among 17 cities surveyed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker was down 13.8% from the same period in 2020, with hotel tax revenue down 40.5% and restaurant revenue down 4.04%. The numbers are compared with the period in 2020 before the pandemic significantly curtailed the state economy.

Arkansas’ 2% tourism tax revenue in 2020 was $13.61 million, down 22.7% compared with the $17.608 million 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 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-February 2021 Tourism Ticker report are:
• 13.8% decrease
Hospitality tax revenue in January-February 2021 among 17 Arkansas cities reviewed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker compared with the same period in 2020

• 20.5% decrease
Collections of Arkansas’ 2% statewide tourism tax in January-February 2021 compared with the same period in 2020

• 8.2% decrease
Decrease in monthly average of Arkansas’ tourism industry jobs in January-February 2021 compared with the same period in 2020

Link here for the full PDF report of the January-February 2021 Arkansas Tourism Ticker.

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