Arkansas Tourism Ticker: Recovery comes into view, hotels still lag

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 287 views 

The state’s tourism sector showed clear signs of recovery in the first four months of 2021, but the comparisons were up against the first two months of COVID-19 shutdown in 2020. And the 2021 numbers are still below the records set in 2019.

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-April 2021 was $5.166 million, up 42.5% compared with the $3.636 million in the same period of 2020, and up 4.1% from what was a record year in 2019.

January-April 2021 hospitality tax collections among 17 cities surveyed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker was up 18.7% from the same period in 2020, with hotel tax revenue up 15.9% and restaurant revenue up 19.7%.

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-April 2021 Tourism Ticker report are:
• 18.7% increase
Hospitality tax revenue in January-April 2021 among 17 Arkansas cities reviewed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker compared with the same period in 2020

• 42.5% increase
Collections of Arkansas’ 2% statewide tourism tax in January-April 2021 compared with the same period in 2020

• 1.8% increase
Increase in monthly average of Arkansas’ tourism industry jobs in January-April 2021 compared with the same period in 2020

The combined hospitality tax collections in the 17 cities totaled $16.688 million in January-April 2021, up 18.7% compared with the $14.051 million in the same period of 2020, and down 2.3% compared with the $17.131 million in the same period of 2019.

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

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