Northern Arkansas City Tax Breaks Records

HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) – Arkansas state’s 2% tourist tax will likely exceed $20 million for the first time since its inception, according to a report by Talk Business and Politics.

The study shows substantial growth in recent years, including a nearly 50% jump from a 2020 riddled with COVID-19. In north-central Arkansas, Carroll County, highlighted by Eureka Springs, saw a 45% jump in 2021. Boone and Baxter County grew 34% and 18%, respectively. With the pandemic having lasting effects on travel, the increase may come as a surprise. It’s one that many in the Ozarks attribute to the state’s reliance on outdoor attractions and a growing increase in small-town tourist destinations since the pandemic began.

“People really started traveling again in July 2020 and have been growing ever since,” said Jack Moyer, Executive Director and General Manager of Basin Park and Crescent Hotels. “People are sort of rediscovering Arkansas and the Ozarks where in the past they may have traveled a greater distance to get to a more flashy destination.”

“I think the biggest driving force behind this is that we’re an outdoor, recreation and tourism destination and people can still socially distance themselves,” said Matt Bell, director of Explore Harrison. “Even during the pandemic, we’ve seen an increase in visitors coming to the national river, or going to the lake, hiking and it continues to grow.”

With places like Harrison relying mostly on outdoor attractions, like mountain biking and the National Buffalo River; many in the area hope that new additions will only increase the already steady growth.

“There’s no question what’s happening on Highway 7 South just minutes from Harrison with Johnny Morris and what his company is building,” Bell said. “In addition to that, we have the Creekside Community Center, a multi-use facility with indoor water courts and indoor sports courts. This will only strengthen the momentum of our downtown and our community.

Click here to see the full Arkansas Tourism Ticker report.

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