Arkansas Tourism Ticker: Report shows broad recovery in Arkansas’ tourism sector

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 304 views 

High fuel prices, inflation and concerns about a U.S. recession have yet to slow Arkansas’ tourism industry based on tax revenue and job numbers in the first six months of 2022. The industry continues a strong rebound from COVID-19 shutdowns.

Arkansas’ 2% tourism tax revenue between January and June was $11.701 million, up 24% compared with the $9.432 million in the same period of 2021 and up 37.8% over the same period in pre-pandemic 2019. The 2021 collections of the tax ($20.544 million) set an annual record for the tax, and revenue has set a new monthly record since March 2020 – a 16-month consecutive record pace.

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.

January-June hospitality tax collections among 17 cities surveyed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker were up 17.5% compared with the same period in 2021, and up 20% compared with the same period in pre-pandemic 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 Jan.-June 2022 Tourism Ticker report are:
• 17.5% increase
Hospitality tax revenue in Jan.-June 2022 among 17 Arkansas cities reviewed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker compared with the same period in 2021

• 24% increase
Collections of Arkansas’ 2% statewide tourism tax in Jan.-June 2022 compared with the same period in 2021

• 9.6% increase
Gain in monthly average of Arkansas’ tourism industry jobs in Jan.-June 2022 compared with the same period in 2021

Link here for the PDF of the complete Arkansas Tourism Ticker.