Arkansas Tourism Revenue Up As Governor's Conference Meets in Little Rock

As the annual Governor's Conference of Tourism gets underway in Little Rock on Monday, last year's tourism revenue shows the industry slowly recovering.

Revenue from Arkansas' 2 percent sales tax on tourism-related services, such as lodging, marina rentals and admission fees to tourism attractions, was up 2.3 percent in 2010 compared with 2009, according to the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism.

"We're seeing business coming back," said Joe David Rice, tourism director for the Parks & Tourism Department.

Rice said the last half of 2010 was strong, which made up for the "pretty miserable" first half of the year. Convention business and the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico helped boost Arkansas' tourism numbers.

Still, last year's revenue of $11.7 million from the tourism tax was off from the high of $11.86 million in 2008.

The annual conference, which takes place this year at The Peabody-Little Rock, runs through Tuesday. It is the largest in-state meeting of travel and tourism professionals, bringing in professionals in attractions, destinations, accommodations, and chambers and convention & visitors bureau officials.

Inside the Arkansas Business Tourism & Hospitality Issue

More on the Governor's Conference on Tourism.

Arkansas tourism revenue is up as high gas prices keep Arkansans in state.

Joe David Rice on emerging projects that will contribute to Arkansas tourism.

A look at the career of Montine McNulty, the executive director of the Arkansas Hospitality Association.

The list of the state's top hotels (PDF).

The list of the biggest money-making restaurants in Little Rock and North Little Rock.