The Little Rock Advertising and Promotion Commission got a rundown on the damage so far from the collapse of tourism and conventions due to coronavirus.
For now, Director Gretchen Hall said the agency was projecting a decline in revenue from the restaurant and hotel tax will reduce revenue this year by more than $5 million, but she said that remained a “moving target” given uncertainty of when the cautions will lift and business can be rebuilt. Cuts have been made, particularly in payroll, to offset $4 million of that so far. She said she fully hoped to bring back furloughed employees but could make no projections.
Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said the city was looking at a drop in its sales tax revenue of 20 to 30 percent this year, but that, too, wasn’t a firm estimate. He said the city “at best” by mid-June to the end of June “we could start to see some relief.” At worst, it will be the end of July or early August. That’s what the city is preparing for.
Commissioner Gene Fortson, a city director, said the city had been heading for a boom year and he thought it would recover at a good pace, but he saw the return of the hospitality industry is more unknown based on uncertainty about travel. He, too, predicted favorable signs by July.