Arkansas Tourism Ticker: Tourism industry shows broad rebound after pandemic disruption

Arkansas’ 2% resort tax set a new record in 2021, and overall hospitality tax receipts in 17 cities surveyed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker set a new record, but the number of jobs and hotel tax revenue are lagging behind the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

Arkansas 2% tourist tax revenue in 2021 was $20.544 million, up 51% from $13.618 million in 2020 and up 16.7% from what was a record high of $17.608 million in 2019. July set a new series record for the tax with $2.486 million. in tax revenue.

Hospitality tax collections in 2021 in 17 cities surveyed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker increased 31.3% from 2020 and 7.7% from 2019, according to the Arkansas Tourism Ticker.

The tourism industry entered 2021 after a year in which the COVID-19 pandemic shut down much of the state and national economy for much 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. by the Arkansas Tourism Ticker.

The Arkansas Tourism Ticker is managed by Talk Business & Politics and sponsored by the Arkansas Hotel Association. The ticker uses the following three metrics to examine the health of the state’s tourism industry.
• Hospitality tax collections – prepared food tax and lodging tax – from 17 cities in Arkansas (cities listed below with collections for each city);
• Tourism employment figures as reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics; and
• Collection of 2% Arkansas state tax.

The results of the Tourism Ticker 2021 report are as follows:
• 31.3% increase
Hospitality tax revenue in 2021 among 17 Arkansas cities reviewed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker vs. 2020

• 51% increase
Arkansas Statewide 2% Resort Tax Collections in 2021 vs. 2020

• 10.8% increase
Average Monthly Employment Gain in Arkansas Tourism Industry in 2021 vs. 2020

The monthly average for jobs in the tourism sector in 2021 was 115,800, up 10.8% from 104,450 in 2020. The 2021 average 6,150 fewer jobs, a decrease of 5%, compared to compared to what was a record year for employment in the sector in 2019. The sector first hit a monthly employment record of 122,900 in December 2019, then fell precipitously to around 75,100 in April 2020.

Link here for the full PDF of the 2021 Arkansas Tourism Ticker.

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