South Shore business owners, officials report increase in summer tourism
Summer came and went in a hurry this year, but an increase in tourism has South Lake Tahoe business owners excited for the future.
Lodging, retail and residency this summer appeared to be up from last year’s totals, said Carol Chaplin, executive director of Lake Tahoe Visitor’s Authority. Some restaurants even reported record-breaking weekends.
“Generally speaking, the mood was very positive,” Chaplin said.
Chaplin estimated that lodging was up 15 to 25 percent at one point during the summer, but said official tourism figures were not readily available.
Still, businesses across the board have reported a major rebound from two summers ago, she said.
“People are feeling a little less discount-oriented,” Chaplin said.
Jerry Bindel, chairman of the South Lake Tahoe Tourism Improvement District, said the influx of business this summer resulted in a rash of excited chatter.
“A couple years ago, we were in a funk,” he said. “Last year was fairly healthy, but it was a little more spotty.”
This year, however, the district heard that businesses are doing well even outside of the so-called prime locations.
“What I’ve heard, in general, is that it’s been a very strong summer,” Bindel said.
But not all businesses saw significant increases. Others, such as Pat Ronan of Tahoe Lakeshore Lodge & Spa, saw a different trend.
“I was basically flat, but I had a great summer last year,” Ronan said.
Ronan’s lakefront property was able to capitalize on a significant increase in occupancy last year, he said. In some instances, occupancy rose up to 13 percent after South Shore’s relatively weak 2011 summer.