Arkansas had record tourism in 2021: report

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Data released September 14 by the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism shows that Arkansas’ tourism industry saw a record number of visits in 2021 and grew. recovered after a significant decline in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a press release from Arkansas Tourism, the state welcomed more than 41 million visitors in 2021, compared to 29.2 million in 2020 and 36.3 million in 2019.

The statement said accommodation spending rose 49% after a 29% plunge in 2020. The rebound led accommodation spending to rise 5% above its 2019 level.

The data was released at the Arkansas Hospitality Association’s annual convention in Little Rock.

“Arkansas’ nickname, The Natural State, has helped the tourism industry weather the challenges of recent years,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “These numbers show that Arkansas is in the midst of a turning point in public perception regarding our national profile as a tourist destination. Together, we can maintain this strong momentum as we head into 2023 and beyond. -of the. “

Key findings of the report include:

  • Visitor spending, visitor-supported jobs, and business sales generated $1.1 billion in tax revenue that supports local, state, and federal government operations. State and local taxes alone topped $653 million in 2021.
  • Visitation to Arkansas National Parks increased 23% from its pre-pandemic 2019 level to just under four million visits, while hunting and fishing licenses issued to non-nationals -residents more than doubled compared to 2019.
  • In 2021, jobs supported by tourism accounted for 5.6% of all jobs in Arkansas.
  • 23% of tourism jobs in Arkansas were lost in 2020. The recovery in travel in 2021 welcomed a return in tourism jobs, which reached 95% of their 2019 level.
  • Employment recovery in key industries in 2021 reached 98% of pre-pandemic levels in the restaurant industry, 96% in leisure businesses and 89% in accommodation.
  • Every household in Arkansas is expected to be taxed an additional $759 to replace visitor-generated taxes received by Arkansas state and local governments in 2021.
  • Average room rates at hotels across the state increased 13%.

“It’s satisfying to see these numbers and to know that we are meeting our goal of improving our state’s economy,” said Travis Napper, director of Arkansas Tourism. “Not only that, we have the great privilege of sharing the scenic beauty, authentic culture and unique wonder of The Natural State.”

The full report is available here. For more information on the 2021 Arkansas Tourism Economic Impact Report, call 501-324-9611.

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