Arkansas Tourism Ticker: State tourism tax up 7%, jobs up 4.45%

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Arkansas’ travel and tourism economy gained momentum through 2019, with the pace of gains increasing in the September-October period. The state’s  2% tourism tax revenue between January and October was up 7% compared with the same period in 2018, and also a gain from the 6.2% year-over-year increase through the first eight months of 2019.

June and July were the first two months the collection was above $1.8 million.

January-October hospitality tax collections among 17 cities surveyed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker were up 5.3% compared with the same period in 2018. That’s just slightly better than the 5.2% gain among the cities during the first eight months of 2019.

Numbers from the first 10 months of 2019 are up against broad gains in 2018. Collections of Arkansas’ 2% tourism set a new record in 2018 and hospitality tax collections among 17 Arkansas cities surveyed for the Arkansas Tourism ticker topped the $50 million mark in 2018. The year marked the fourth 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 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 Jan.-October 2019 Tourism Ticker report are:
• 5.3% increase
Hospitality tax revenue in Jan.-October 2019 among 17 Arkansas cities reviewed for the Arkansas Tourism Ticker compared with the same period in 2018

• 7% increase
Collections of Arkansas’ 2% statewide tourism tax in Jan.-October 2019 compared with the same period in 2018

• 4.45% increase
Increase in monthly average of Arkansas’ tourism industry jobs in Jan.-October 2019 compared with the same period in 2018

The combined hospitality tax collections in the 17 cities totaled $36.111 million in Jan.-October 2019, up 5.2% compared with the $34.332 million in the same period in 2018. The combined hospitality tax collections in the 17 cities totaled $50.847 million in 2018, up 2.36% compared with the $49.319 million in 2017.

Monthly average tourism sector jobs in Jan.-October 2019 was 121,660, up 4.2% compared with 116,470 in the same period of 2018. The sector reached record monthly employment of 123,400 in September.