Tahoe Tourism, Deeply Impacted yet Rising
As California’s annual “Tourism Month” draws to a close and the summer of 2020 gleams on the horizon, we expect some major differences for Tahoe this summer in terms of tourism. California’s Tourism Month in May has been used in the past for local organizations and governments to call attention to the immense importance of tourism in California’s economy (one that had seen one whole decade of year over year growth until now) and to use that power to leverage better policies for tourist-dependent areas. In Lake Tahoe, as many know, our local tourist economy has been severely damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, many California tourism advocates like Visit California have used May’s focus as a platform to disseminate information about the deep impacts that these regions are seeing, and the lasting impacts we are bracing for. In Tahoe, our businesses’ success relies on visitors. The North Lake Tahoe Chamber reports that visitor spending creates 60% of jobs here. Lake Tahoe sees 8 million visitors annually, who spend about $835 million. Tourism really is the force that keeps us moving forward.
Another aspect to consider is that only 27.3% of housing here is occupied by full-time residents. The vast majority of homeowners here are part-time residents that do contribute greatly to our economy.
This year marks the first time that modern Tahoe communities urged visitors and part-time homeowners to stay away, which has caused a monumental decline in revenue in the region. We will be dealing with these impacts going forward in different ways, and businesses are anxious to bring this traffic back in. There are already local initiatives in place to remind people that when they do visit, be mindful of others’ space and be as cautious as possible to protect others from the spread of the virus. Take Care Tahoe has more information on how to do this.
All of us are looking forward to bringing this tourist-driven economy back to a state of health as soon as possible. Thanks to North Lake Tahoe Chamber for compiling a report on this topic. We hope to see you all soon!