Eclipse tourism expected to impact Arkansas economy long-term

Officials predict the state could see $105 million from tax revenue to the state’s economy.

OZARK, Ark. — The Great American Solar Eclipse on April 8, 2024, is expected to bring anywhere from 200,000 to 1.5 million people to Arkansas. 

With so many people shopping, dining, and experiencing the Natural State, Scott Hardin with the Department of Finance and Administration said it could bring a great amount of tax revenue.

“Whether it’s on the low end or the high end (of visitors) we know that the economic impact is going to be significant,” Hardin said. 

“We’ve never had this many people travel into Arkansas for one specific event. It’s our chance to shine. It’s our chance to put our best foot forward.” 

Hardin said their latest projection for how much revenue the state could bring in is $105 million. 

“That’s based on a few hundred thousand visitors. Do we land there? Or do we land closer to a million? And that’s the big question,” Hardin said. “That’s just more money to our bottom line. That’s more money that we can put into the day-to-day operation of the state.” 

That impact will be felt across Arkansas, specifically those towns in the path of totality. 

“A lot of these communities rely on tourism,” said Hardin. “They may have a very healthy budget next year simply because of this event.” 

Connie Kyllingstad has owned Personal Touch Fashion Boutique on the square in Ozark for 10 years. She runs her store completely by herself. She mostly sells clothing to locals in town but loves having visitors. 

“I have to say, people coming from out of state or out of town buy a lot more than they do in Ozark,” Kyllingstad said. 

Which is exactly why she’s prepped for April 8.

“I plan on putting racks outside on the sidewalk to draw attention,” she said. “I hope to improve my economy here and make some more money.”

As visitors travel to The Natural State, the state is hoping some visitors stay awhile and maybe, someday, turn into residents. 

“We always say, if we can simply get someone to Arkansas, we can change their mind,” Hardin said. 

“One of the most exciting things about this entire event is we know there are going to be people who touch down and stay. Fall in love with Arkansas and choose to stay here.”

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