Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism releases 2015-16 Annual Report

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism releases 2015-16 Annual Report

June 2015 tourism tax collections exceed $ 1.5 million for first time in history

The positive economic impact of tourism in Arkansas continues to be significant, according to data released from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. In 2015, the state hosted more than 28 million visitors spending $7.2 billion in total travel expenditures, $374 million in state taxes and $137 million in local taxes.

ADPT’s 2015-2016 Annual Report, online at insider/research-services, illustrates that tourism remains vital to Arkansas’s economy.

“These strong numbers provide further evidence of tourism’s importance to the economy of Arkansas. It is a vital industry, an economic- development driver, and it is growing,” said Kane Webb, executive director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

The 2% tourism development trust fund broke a nine-year record for percentage of growth in fiscal year 2015; one of the highlights was the month of June 2015 when, for the first time ever, the collections exceeded $1.5 million. And that record has now been overshadowed; in the current fiscal year, two additional months have already exceeded $1.5 million in tax collection – July and October.

'Arkansas’s tourism experience continues to improve. Key additions such as the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home in Dyess, the Scott Family Amazeum in Bentonville, the renovated lodge at Queen Wilhelmina State Park, and the Frank Lloyd Wright house at Crystal Bridges offer our guests even more exciting options,” said Joe David Rice, Arkansas tourism director.

Among the other key findings: • Travel expenditures increased from $6,698,501,022 in 2014 to $7,280,600,761 in 2015.

• The number of visitors increased from 25,885,046 in 2014 to 28,117,891 in 2015.

• Average expenditures per travel party were $258.93.

• The top five states from which visitors to Arkansas Welcome Centers originated were: 1) Arkansas, 2) Texas, 3) Missouri, 4) Louisiana and 5) Oklahoma.

For more information about the 2015-16 Annual Report, contact Leah DiPietro at Leah.DiPietro@Arkansas.g ov.

From Leah DiPietro