Tax revenue shows tourism continuing comeback in Vicksburg

Published 10:50 am Friday, July 8, 2022

The tourism industry in Vicksburg continues its comeback in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to tourism sales tax figures for April.

Two special sales taxes are levied on hotel room rentals and food and beverage sales at local restaurants — a 1 percent sales tax to support the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau and a 2 percent sales tax to pay for the Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi sports complex.

Tax revenue disbursements from the state of Mississippi run two months behind, so the tax collections for April were received in June. The tax revenue raised during the Miss Mississippi Pageant will not be available until August.

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According to information from the VCVB, April tax collections from the 1 percent tax totaled $135,139; about a 4.84 percent increase over 2021 and a 39.22 percent increase over 2020. Year-to-date, total collections are 12.7 percent over 2021.

April revenue for the 2 percent sports complex tax totaled $257,755, or 9.91 percent more than the $234,513 for the same period in 2021. Year-to-date, collections for the city’s fiscal year total $1.57 million, about 18.35 percent more than the $1.33 million reported in 2021.

“I think it’s just pent-up demand and people are ready to get out and travel and do things and I think Vicksburg’s just a great destination for them to come to — there’s a lot to do right here,” VCVB Director Laura Beth Strickland said of the tourism increase. “We’re getting a lot of the sports tournament traffic; things are just coming together; what COVID has delayed has come together for us.”

“I think it’s amazing how post-COVID tourism traffic has exceeded all expectations and we’re still headed in the right direction in this city, having this city open for business and for tourism going forward,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said.

But while the tourism tax revenues have exceeded the previous year, April revenue from the 7 percent state sales tax fell below revenue received in 2021.

The state reimburses the city for 18.5 percent of the sales tax revenue collected on goods purchased in the city. According to city records, Vicksburg’s total sales tax revenue totaled $738,820 for April; about 1.63 percent less than the $751,080 collected for the same period in 2021.

Year-to-date, however, the city’s total revenue of $4.78 million is 2.41 percent more than the$4.67 million collected through April.

Flaggs said the collections “bottom out about this time and then they start swinging back up. As the new fiscal year for the state kicks in, they’ll kick back up and that’s a lot of money from ARPA (American Recovery Plan Act) and other things.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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