The Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau (LRCVB) recently reported multi-million dollar losses in the local restaurant and hotel industry, an extensive number of convention and meeting cancellations and a significant decrease in enplanements. According to LRCVB, all are results of the coronavirus.
Pulaski County accounted for $1.8 billion in travel spending. This revenue was 25 percent of the state’s overall travel expenditures, with tourism being Arkansas’ second largest economic driver pre-coronavirus.
“The coronavirus pandemic has devastated the traveling world, and tourism in Little Rock has been no exception,” LRCVB CEO Gretchen Hall said in a statement.
Studies show that hotel revenue had a decline of 66 percent and hotel occupancy had a 54 percent decline. In restaurants, the Arkansas Hospitality Association reported that 88 percent of Arkansas restaurant operators’ staff were laid off or have been furloughed since March.
In addition, 214 meetings have been cancelled in 2020 – including Volley in the Rock, Arkansas International Camp Meeting and the Miss Arkansas Scholarship Pageant – resulting in a more than $23 million impact economically.
As for the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport, while the airport reported an average of 41 departures per day before the pandemic, there is currently 13 per day. This is almost a 68 percent decline. Of those, the airport reported an average of only 186 enplanements per day in April, 400 in May and is up to 663 in June – still an 81.2 percent decline.
The LRCVB provided statistical research conducted on numbers between the weeks of March 15 – June 8.