Arkansas Tourism Releases 2021 Economic Impact Report

The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism has released data that indicates Arkansas’ tourism industry saw record visitation in 2021 and recovered from the significant decline in 2020 due to the global pandemic.

In 2021, Arkansas welcomed just over 41 million visitors – an increase from 29.2 million in 2020 and 36.3 million in 2019. Lodging spending also rose 49% after a plunge by 29% in 2020. This rebound led to accommodation spending exceeding its 2019 level. by 5%. 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-funded 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 pre-pandemic 2019 levels 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.
• Nearly a quarter (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 has been strong, reaching 98% of pre-pandemic levels in the restaurant industry, 96% in leisure businesses and 89% in accommodation.
• Every household in Arkansas should 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 by 13%.

“It is 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.”

For more information on the 2021 Arkansas Tourism Economic Impact Report, contact Jeff LeMaster at [email protected] or 501-324-9611.

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