Arkansas Tourism Ticker: State’s 2% tourism ticker up 60% through June

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 257 views 

Arkansas’ tourism economy shows clear signs of recovery from business shutdowns in 2020, and gains above a robust sector in 2019. The state’s 2% tourism tax between January and June compared with 2020 and 2021 is up 60% and up 11.1%, respectively.

Arkansas’ 2% tourism tax revenue between January and June was $9.432 million, up 60% compared with the $5.905 million in the same period in 2020, and up 11.1% over the same period in 2019. The 2019 collections set a record for the tax. Collections of the tax set monthly records in March, April, May and June.

January-June hospitality tax collections among 17 cities surveyed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker were up 29.6% compared with the same period in 2020, and up 2.2% compared with the same period in 2019.

The tourism industry entered 2021 following a year in which the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered much of the state and national economy for much of the year. The state’s 2% tourism tax revenue fell almost 23% in 2020, and fell to levels not seen since 2014. 2019 set several records for the sector in terms of hospitality tax revenue and job gains, and 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.-June 2021 Tourism Ticker report are:
• 29.6% increase
Hospitality tax revenue in Jan.-June 2021 among 17 Arkansas cities reviewed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker compared with the same period in 2020

• 60% increase
Collections of Arkansas’ 2% statewide tourism tax in Jan.-June 2021 compared with the same period in 2020

• 6.1% increase
Gain in monthly average of Arkansas’ tourism industry jobs in Jan.-June 2021 compared with the same period in 2020

The combined hospitality tax collections in the 17 cities totaled $27.277 million in Jan.-June 2021, up 29.6% compared with the $21.046 million in the same period in 2020. Collections for the first half of 2021 were also up 2.2% above the $26.695 million in the same period of 2020.

Restaurant (prepared food tax) tax collections among the 17 cities totaled $21.109 million in Jan.-June 2021, well ahead of the $16.591 million in the same period of 2020. Hotel tax collections among the 17 cities totaled $6.168 million in Jan.-June 2021, up 38.4% compared with the $4.455 million in the same period of 2020. Hotel tax collections in the first six months are down 11.3% compared with the same period in 2019, an indication the hotel sector has yet to rebound from the 2020 shutdowns.

Link here for the complete PDF report of the January-June 2021 Arkansas Tourism Ticker.

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