Arkansas 2% resort tax sets new record, up 51% in 2021

Arkansas’ 2% resort tax totaled $20.544 million in 2021, up 51% from 2020 and 16.7% from the pre-pandemic record year of 2019. The gain of 2021 suggests that the tourism industry is largely back on track after nearly two years of COVID-19-related disruptions.

Record collections of all taxes for each month in 2021 between March and December, according to figures from the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.

The tourism industry entered 2021 after a year in which the COVID-19 pandemic shut down much of the state and national economy for most of the year. State 2% resort tax revenue fell nearly 23% in 2020 and fell to levels not seen since 2014. 2019 set several records for the industry in resort tax revenue. and job creation, and marked the fifth consecutive year of growth as measured. speak Arkansas Tourism Ticker.

Here are the last five years of tourism tax revenue.
2021: $20.544 million
2020: $13.61 million
2019: $17.608 million
2018: $16.428 million
2017: $15.897 million

Over the past decade, the tax has increased by 70.8%, from $12.025 million in 2011 to $20.544 million in 2021.

Among Arkansas counties with more than $1 million in 2% tourism tax revenue, Washington County had the highest percentage gain in 2021 over 2020 at 71.7%. Here are the top five counties by 2% resort tax revenue in 2021 and percentage increase from 2020.
Pulaski: $3.962 million, up 58.5%
Garland: $2.243 million, up 49.7%
Benton: $2.001 million, up 53.3%
Washington: $1.511 million, up 71.7%
Carroll: $1.192 million, up 43.2%

Mervin Jebaraj, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, told Talk Business & Politics earlier this year that the investments of the years before the pandemic will pay off. when the pandemic subsides. .

“We had invested a lot as a state in this particular sector. We have excellent hunting and fishing facilities. We’re seeing kayaking, biking, and those types of activities growing. People love hiking. … We’ve seen a lot more investment in downtown restaurants and bars, not just in northwest Arkansas, not just in central Arkansas, but in smaller towns, Blytheville and El Dorado, for example, in Arkansas,” he said. in this report on the state’s tourism industry.

Items on which the tax is applied include:
• Rentals for transient guests, such as AirBnB locations;
• Camping fees in public and private campgrounds, except for federal properties;
• Most items offered for rental at a dock, marina, canoe or raft rental business; and
• Entrance fees to a tourist attraction.

Tourist tax and more information about Arkansas’ tourism industry will be released later this month in the 2021 Arkansas Tourism Ticker report.

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