Arkansas tourism breaks records, generates billions of dollars

 Thursday, June 8, 2023 


Tourism in Arkansas is breaking records, not only surpassing pre-pandemic numbers but growing tourism spending well into the billions of dollars.

Arkansas Director of Tourism Travis Napper said the number of visitors in the state continues to grow.

In the department’s latest report, 2021 broke records for the number of visitors, showcasing that a little over 42 million people came to visit the Natural State.

That number was over a 40 percent increase from 2020 and 13 percent increase over 2019.

Napper said tourism spending is also in the billions of dollars.

“Ultimately tourism is in a great spot, we know at minimum they’re spending 8 billion dollars a year. I imagine that number is much higher now as we see this fall it’s tremendous to our state and the impact to our locals as well,” Napper said.

According to the report, a majority of tourists are spending their money on outdoor activities and entertainment while others are spending it on food.

“We have about 25 consecutive record-breaking months so our recovery out of the pandemic has been tremendous,” Napper said.

Benny Gonzalez, who was visiting Arkansas with her husband from Florida, said they never expected what the state had to offer.

“Everywhere we have been, we just love the hills, and of course Florida is flat, and everywhere we go (in Arkansas) it’s beautiful and the parts that are not are being worked on,” Gonzalez said.

Napper said tourism spending is also good for local businesses and job recovery.

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