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Hot Springs tourism sets new record with spending up 138% from 2020

Hot Springs tourists are breaking records. The hospitality tax on restaurants, hotels, and Airbnbs is up 138 percent from 2020.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — National Parks are seeing a record number of visitors this summer and Arkansas parks are no exception.

Hot Springs National Park is back in business. Tourists are traveling to the spa city from all over the world.

"There are people in form Poland, Britain, Canada, and Mexico," Bill Solleder said.

Solleder is the director of marketing for Visit Hot Springs. He said the spike in tourism this summer is a little unexpected.

"We are seeing tremendous crowds in Hot Springs and Hot Springs National Park," he said.

In fact, tourists are breaking records. The hospitality tax on restaurants, hotels and Air BnB's is up 138 percent from 2020.  And up more than 9 percent from 2019... which was the previous record year.

"Hotels are actually way up right now as well as restaurants, but yeah it's a staggering number," Sollefer said.

Melissa Whitfield with Arkansas State Parks said just by judging the crowds at parks like Pinnacle Mountain and Petit Jean, tourism is way up.

"It's just people are enjoying the outdoors. They're realizing it's a good place to be safe," she said,

If you are looking to go camping, she recommends planning ahead because some parks book up quickly.

"Don't wait until Friday to go on a Saturday camping trip," Whitfield said.

Solleder said Hot Springs is seeing near full capacity every weekend.

"A lot of people are traveling spur of the moment. So, come Wednesday or Thursday, people are deciding hey let's take a road trip," Solleder said.

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