Arkansas Tourism Ticker: Data shows clear recovery and growth in tourism industry

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 307 views 

The state’s 2% tourism tax and tourism and travel industry jobs are setting new records in the first eight months of 2022, showing that the industry is recovering and growing from the pandemic shutdowns of 2020.

Arkansas’ 2% tourism tax revenue between January and August was $16.314 million, up 18% compared with the $13.819 million in the same period of 2021 and up 36.5% 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 set a new monthly record in June of $2.528 million.

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-August hospitality tax collections among 17 cities surveyed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker were up 16.14% compared with the same period in 2021, and up 20.6% compared with the same period in pre-pandemic 2019.

“The latest tourism ticker numbers continue to show a rebounding hospitality industry in Arkansas. Double-digit increases in revenue and tourism sector jobs compared to the same time last year is good news as the industry works toward full recovery,” said Katie Beck, CEO of the Arkansas Hospitality Association.

Arkansas Hospitality Association CEO Katie Beck.

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.-August 2022 Tourism Ticker report are:
• 16.14% increase
Hospitality tax revenue in Jan.-August 2022 among 17 Arkansas cities reviewed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker compared with the same period in 2021

• 18% increase
Collections of Arkansas’ 2% statewide tourism tax in Jan.-August 2022 compared with the same period in 2021

• 10.2% increase
Gain in monthly average of Arkansas’ tourism industry jobs in Jan.-August 2022 compared with the same period in 2021

The combined hospitality tax collections in the 17 cities totaled $43.64 million in Jan.-August 2022, up 16.14% compared with the $37.575 million in the same period of 2021. Collections were also up 20.6% above the $36.167 million in the same pre-pandemic period of 2019.

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