LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas is hitting record numbers for tourism, impacting the economy all over the state.

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders made an announcement Monday about Arkansas tourism numbers and where the state is headed.

“We are back, and we are better than ever,” the governor said.

According to the governor’s office, the highest visitor spending categories in 2022 were transportation, food and lodging.

“It’s called the Natural State for a reason,” Arkansas native Rachel Herndon said. “From the top to the bottom there are so many things to see and do, so many so many beautiful areas.”

According to a study done by the Arkansas Parks, Heritage, and Tourism in 2022, there were over 48 million visitors to the state and the Arkansas tourism industry supported over 68,000 jobs. That is a 6% increase from 2021.

“They spent $9.2 billion while there were here, up 15% from 2021,” Sanders said.

Arkansas Parks, Heritage and Tourism Secretary Shea Lewis explained how important those numbers were for those who live in the state.

“In total, tax receipts from visitor spending in Arkansas was $752 million,” Lewis said. “For perspective, without this visitor generated tax received, each Arkansan household would need to be taxed an additional $866 to replace those taxes.”

After hearing some of the statistics, those who live in Arkansas said they are thrilled.

“I think it’s wonderful, especially for the city of Little Rock, who is much in need of the funds, it’s good for Airbnbs and yeah, I think it’s good for the economy,” Herndon said.

Many local directors for tourism across the state who spoke at the press conference today noted that the numbers for 2023 look like they will exceed last year’s.

Also at the press conference, Sanders announced Dalaney Thomas as the new director for tourism.