Hot Springs enjoys record year in restaurants, hotels

HOT SPRINGS - The Hot Springs economy is enjoying a record breaking year in 2012 that brought in more than $5 million from its advertising and promotion tax.

The A&P tax collected $5,011,574 last year, according to Steve Arrison with Visit Hot Springs.

It's a 3-cent tax applied to hotel check-ins and restaurant sales throughout the city.

The money will be used to spend more money on advertising the popular Arkansas tourist city, with the hope of attracting of even more visitors in 2013.

Restaurants like the Brick House Grill have helped Hot Springs record their biggest year in nearly five decades.

"People come from all over the country to come to the Brick House," said owner Frank Deushchle, whose restaurant has been in Hot Springs for 16 years.

He says being in the heart of downtown is a big plus come time for Miss Arkansas and the 2012 Sun Belt Basketball tournament.

"Oh those things we get so excited it's ridiculous," said Deuschcle. "We're like little kids in a playground."

Arrison says Oaklawn is the biggest contributor to the city's lucrative A&P tax.

"They're really a 365 day year attraction so Oaklawn's emergence has really helped us," said Arrison.

Steve Arrison says the city collected just over $5 million from its three-cent advertising and promotion tax.

It's a tax that comes from hotel check-ins and restaurant sales in hot springs.

"Any money we get, we put right back into advertising," said Arrison. "Hopefully we'll get more people to visit and then maybe hit the $6 million mark sometime."