Arkansas Tourism Ticker: State’s hospitality sector sees record gains

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 927 views 

Job and hospitality tax revenue records continue to be set in Arkansas’ tourism industry, with the state’s 2% tourism tax in the first 10 months of 2022 up more than 18% and already ahead of record revenue in all of 2021.

Arkansas’ 2% tourism tax revenue between January and October was $20.809 million, up 18.35% compared with the $17.582 million in the same period of 2021. 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-October hospitality tax collections among 17 cities surveyed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker were up 16% compared with the same period in 2021, and up 22% 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.-October 2022 Tourism Ticker report are:
• 16% increase
Hospitality tax revenue in Jan.-October 2022 among 17 Arkansas cities reviewed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker compared with the same period in 2021

• 18.35% increase
Collections of Arkansas’ 2% statewide tourism tax in Jan.-October 2022 compared with the same period in 2021

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

The combined hospitality tax collections in the 17 cities totaled $55.271 million in Jan.-October 2022, up 16% compared with the $47.669 million in the same period of 2021. Collections were also up 22% above the $45.306 million in the same pre-pandemic period of 2019.

Monthly average tourism sector jobs in Jan.-October 2022 was 122,080, up 9.5% compared with 111,500 in the same period of 2021. The sector reached record monthly employment of 124,800 in November. The sector had 124,400 jobs in February 2020, then fell precipitously to an estimated 74,100 in April 2020.

Link here for a PDF of the full Arkansas Tourism Ticker report for the Jan.-October 2022 period.