State tourism officers are touting a brand new report as a sign the trade is recovering from the pandemic and producing a comeback for one in all Arkansas’ essential sectors.

The Pure State seems to be shaking off the gloom of the pandemic and as soon as once more is attracting guests and, most significantly, elevated spending to assist enhance jobs as spending spikes at parks, leisure areas, resorts and eating places.

Arkansas’ tourism trade lured guests once more in 2021, setting new data after a dismal 2020.

Final week, the Arkansas Division of Parks, Heritage and Tourism launched an up to date report masking spending and visits to the state final yr.

Arkansas’ tourism trade proved resilient and escaped any long-term injury brought on by the pandemic, in line with Stacy Hurst, secretary for the state division.

“These numbers illustrate that Arkansas is within the midst of a public notion turning level with regards to our nationwide profile as a vacationer vacation spot,” she writes within the introduction to the report. “Collectively we are able to hold that momentum sturdy as we head into 2023 and past.”

Greater than 41 million guests flocked to Arkansas in 2021, leaping up 41% in contrast with 29.2 million in 2020 on the peak of the pandemic. Arkansas had 36.3 million guests in 2019.

Lodging skilled related will increase, with spending up 49% after dropping 29% in 2020. This rebound led to lodging spending exceeding its 2019 degree by 5%.

Employment additionally improved considerably, reaching 98% of pre-pandemic numbers for eating places, 96% in leisure companies and 89% in lodging. Tourism offered 64,144 jobs final yr, increasing by practically 24% however nonetheless down from pre-pandemic ranges. Almost one in 4 tourism jobs went away in 2020.

The state’s joblessness report launched Friday by the Arkansas Division of Workforce Providers confirmed employment in leisure and hospitality was flat from July to August, with each months producing 128,600 jobs within the sector. Yr-over-year employment was up by 7,300 jobs.

Final yr, tourism accounted for practically 6% of all jobs in Arkansas.

Different key findings:

• Tourism-related actions generated $1.1 billion in tax collections that help native, state and federal authorities operations. State and native taxes topped $653 million in 2021.

• Nationwide-park visits grew by 23% above pre-pandemic ranges, drawing practically 4 million folks. Likewise, looking and fishing licenses issued to nonresidents greater than doubled from 2019.

• Common room charges at resorts within the state elevated by 13%.

“It is satisfying to see these numbers and know that we’re reaching our purpose to enhance the financial system of our state,” Travis Napper, director of Arkansas Tourism, wrote within the report.

CYBERSECURITY JOLT

The Little Rock Enterprise Middle is accepting purposes for college kids and entrepreneurs all for collaborating within the group’s seventh-annual Jolt Cyber Problem.

The weekend occasion is scheduled for Oct. 7-9 on the Jack Stephens Occasion Middle on the College of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Jolt is a hands-on competitors that features Jeopardy-style challenges designed by cyber consultants. Recreation masters who’re consultants in cybersecurity and know-how growth oversee the competitors.

Final yr’s occasion attracted greater than 130 opponents and greater than 150 individuals are anticipated in October.

“We have constructed Jolt into the premier cybersecurity occasion within the state,” stated Christopher Wright, associate of Sullivan Wright Applied sciences and lead sport grasp. “We purposefully make it approachable for folks in any respect technical talent ranges and we try to assist individuals make as many lasting connections as attainable.”

Tech-savvy opponents will battle for prizes whereas creating high-level abilities in areas together with distant entry exploits, internet vulnerabilities, code-breaking, bodily safety, privilege escalation, reverse engineering, and code manipulation.

“The Jolt Cyber Problem is a robust group occasion designed to attach college students and tech trade professionals as they sharpen their tech abilities, and it is one thing we stay up for internet hosting yearly,” stated Wayne Miller, govt director of The Enterprise Middle.

Workforce registration is $200 and $55 for particular person individuals, who will likely be positioned with a workforce on the occasion.

For extra info or to enroll, go to venturecenter.co/jolt.

CROSS BANK UNIFIES OPERATIONS

Cross County Financial institution of Wynne, working for greater than 125 years, is unifying the group beneath the Cross Financial institution title starting Nov. 21.

The financial institution at present has 4 workplaces in Cross County beneath the Cross County Financial institution title and 6 workplaces in Craighead, Monroe and Mississippi counties working as First Industrial Financial institution.

“Unifying our financial institution beneath one title, Cross Financial institution, simplifies issues for our prospects and our communities,” stated David Dowd, president and chief govt officer of Cross County Financial institution. “Our First Industrial prospects typically do not acknowledge they’re a part of a financial institution with a 131-year legacy in the neighborhood. Our Cross County Financial institution prospects typically do not acknowledge the flexibility to conduct banking transactions at our six First Industrial Financial institution workplaces when it could be extra handy to take action.”

Cross County Financial institution was fashioned in 1891 by 31 traders in Wynne. Cross County Financial institution, which has the second-oldest financial institution constitution amongst state-chartered banks in Arkansas, stays regionally owned and managed.

Cross Financial institution will use a brand new emblem, incorporating the acquainted blue of Cross County Financial institution and a crossroads image that helps inform the story.

“The crossroad in our emblem symbolizes our recognition that we’re right here to assist our prospects make sensible selections on their monetary journey,” Dowd stated. “Crossroads are the place folks come collectively, search recommendation and make selections about their future.”

SOCIAL MEDIA TRAINING

The Arkansas Small Enterprise Expertise and Growth Middle is sponsoring a seminar Wednesday in Monticello to assist small companies improve their social-media presence and enhance eCommerce efforts.

Participation is free and companies can attend just about or in individual. The occasion will likely be held from 2-3:30 p.m. within the Scholar Success Middle on the College of Arkansas at Monticello, 346 College Drive.

Coaching subjects will embody social media utilization, eCommerce efforts and tricks to improve advertising and gross sales efforts.

The interactive workshop will assist companies determine goal markets, one of the best platforms to make use of to succeed in prospects and details about producing efficient social-media postings.

Extra info is offered at asbtdc.org.

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