Report: Arkansas Tourism Outperforms Many States During the Pandemic

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    Arkansas rebounded after the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020 and finished the year with strong tourism numbers.

    The full release from the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism is posted below:

    Data released Monday by the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism indicates that Arkansas’ tourism industry fared well during 2020 despite the challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic. State tax collections were at $363.7 million, with local taxes at $138.8 million, according to the 2020 Arkansas Tourism Economic Impact Report unveiled at the 48th Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Fayetteville. The numbers represent a decrease of 21.8% and 16.95, respectively, compared to 2019 numbers.
    “I am pleased with the results of our 2020 Economic Impact Report,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “Although the visitation and tax collection decreases in this year’s report are not ones that we want to repeat, the good news is we outperformed many of our competitor markets. The data reflects the hard work and commitment of our industry to successfully navigate unheard of challenges. I commend the work of Gov. Asa Hutchinson in ensuring that the state did not completely shut down, and his response was key in enabling our industry to remain open for business.”

    Arkansas’s welcome centers assisted just over 627,000 visitors in 2020. The state saw $6 billion in visitor spending overall, a 25.3% decrease from 2019.

    At the start of the pandemic, Arkansas Tourism quickly paused out-of-state marketing efforts. As travel recommendations and guidance loosened in the late summer and fall of 2020, Arkansas Tourism again began to market out of state, utilizing the funds set aside for the spring.

    “Arkansas fared better than many of our competitor states,” said Travis Napper, director of Arkansas Tourism. “The Natural State has long been known for its scenic outdoor beauty and attractions, and our reputation served as a safety net during a challenging time for more urban destinations. As the world continues to make its way out of the pandemic, we already know that 2021 data will illustrate a record-breaking year for Arkansas visitation. More than ever, people are looking for safe outdoor activities, and they clearly have seen that Arkansas is the place to go.”

    About Arkansas Tourism
    Arkansas Tourism, a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, strives to expand the economic impact of travel and tourism in the state and enhance the quality of life for all Arkansans. The division manages 14 Arkansas welcome centers and employs more than 60 staff members across The Natural State. For more information, visit www.arkansas.com.

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