Arkansas Tourism Ticker: Early 2022 numbers show broad recovery in Arkansas’ tourism sector

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 196 views 

Hospitality tax collections and tourism job numbers in the first two months of 2022 show a post-COVID-19 recovery, with double-digit percentage gains in tax revenue compared to the pre-pandemic months of January and February 2020.

Arkansas’ 2% tourism tax revenue in January and February was $2.704 million, up 48% compared with the $1.827 million in the same period of 2021 and up 17.6% over the same period in 2019. The 2021 collections of the tax ($20.544 million) set an annual record for the tax, and January and February 2022 set new monthly records.

January-February hospitality tax collections among 17 cities surveyed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker were up 27.3% compared with the same period in 2021, and up 14.5% compared with the same period in 2020.

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 2022 Tourism Ticker report are:
• 27.3% increase
Hospitality tax revenue in Jan.-February 2022 among 17 Arkansas cities reviewed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker compared with the same period in 2021

• 48% increase
Collections of Arkansas’ 2% statewide tourism tax in January-February 2022 compared with the same period in 2021

• 9.5% increase
Gain in monthly average of Arkansas’ tourism industry jobs in January-February 2022 compared with the same period in 2021

The combined hospitality tax collections in the 17 cities totaled $9.084 million in Jan.-February 2022, up 27.3% compared with the $7.134 million in the same period in 2021. Collections were also up 14.5% above the $7.932 million in the same pre-pandemic period of 2020. Of the 17 cities surveyed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker, 16 posted hospitality tax collection increases in January-February 2022, with Texarkana being the only city to post a decline (down 17.8%).

Monthly average tourism sector jobs in Jan.-February 2022 was 120,700, up 9.5% compared with 110,250 in the same period of 2021. The sector first reached record monthly employment of 122,900 in December 2019, the fell precipitously to an estimated 75,000 in April 2021.

Link here for the complete PDF of the January-February 2022 Arkansas Tourism Ticker.