Tourism continues to be good business. Arkansas’ 2% tourism tax revenue between January and August was $17.482 million, up 7.2% compared with the same period of 2022. The sector posted record employment of 133,400 in August, and has remained above 130,000 jobs since April.
The 2% revenue in each month of 2023 set a new record, with those gains compared to record numbers in 2022. A record for monthly collections was set in June 2023 with $2.71 million.
The tourism tax revenue in 2022 was $24.049 million, up 17% compared with the $20.544 million in 2021. During 2022, revenue set a record in August of $2.528 million, with collections for each month topping $1 million for the first time. The state’s 2% tourism tax revenue fell almost 23% in 2020, and fell to levels not seen since 2014.
January-August hospitality tax collections among 17 cities surveyed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker were up 7.6% compared with the same period in 2022.
The tourism sector posted record employment of 133,400 in August, and has remained above 130,000 jobs since April.
The Arkansas Tourism Ticker is managed by Talk Business & Politics, and sponsored by the Arkansas Hospitality Association. The ticker uses the following three measurements to review the health of the state’s tourism industry.
• Hospitality tax collections – prepared food tax and lodging tax – of 17 Arkansas cities (cities listed below along with collections for each city);
• Tourism sector employment numbers as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; and
• Collections of Arkansas’ 2% statewide tourism tax.
Results for the January-August 2023 Tourism Ticker report are:
• 7.6% increase
Hospitality tax revenue in January-August 2023 among 17 Arkansas cities reviewed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker compared with the same period in 2022
• 7.2% increase
Collections of Arkansas’ 2% statewide tourism tax in January-August 2023 compared with the same period in 2022
• 7% increase
Gain in monthly average of Arkansas’ tourism industry jobs in January-August 2023 compared with the same period in 2022
“The latest Tourism Ticker numbers show the strength and vitality of Arkansas’s second largest industry. Hospitality tax revenue and tourism industry jobs numbers continue to set new records each quarter this year. To see consistent increases in hospitality and tourism sector jobs each month in 2023 is encouraging as we look to close out another record-breaking year,” said Arkansas Hospitality Association CEO Katie Beck.
The combined hospitality tax collections in the 17 cities totaled $46.884 million in January-August 2023, up 7.6% compared with the $43.574 million in the same period of 2022.
Monthly average tourism sector jobs in January-August 2023 was 130,300, up 7% compared with 121,800 in the same period of 2022. The sector reached record monthly employment of 133,400 in August. Sector jobs have fully recovered from the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic when job numbers fell to an estimated 74,300 in April 2020.
Link here for a PDF of the January-August 2023 Arkansas Tourism Ticker.