South Shore tourism appears to be picking up for Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, although the numbers aren’t as strong as most years, according to business officials.
As of Friday, several hotels had reported 80 percent occupancy — a strong figure heading into the weekend, TahoeChamber President Betty “B” Gorman said.
However, the data is still lower than what the area can usually expect over the three-day span.
“I think there are definitely some people that are canceling,” she said. “We would normally be at capacity this weekend.”
The problem appears to be a lack of natural snow, according to some South Lake Tahoe business managers.
Sumitra Batel, general manager at Travel Inn, said more visitors were renting rooms this weekend, but the numbers compared to 2012 — another drier-than-usual year.
“It is slow,” she said. “Because of the (lack of) snow, there are not many skiers.”
Business was also slow at Up Shirt Creek on Friday, manager Ana Alaya said. It didn’t feel like the day before a big holiday weekend, but Alaya was optimistic that things would turn around.
“I’m expecting it to be busy and to have a store full of people,” she said.
December was a “pretty good” month for Up Shirt Creek, Alaya said. The holidays brought in a fair amount of shoppers. She anticipates things will pick up again soon.
In the meantime, the store has begun offering a number of deals — such as low-priced hoodies — to cope with the slower season, she said.
“I think we are going to get a little bit better…” Alaya said, “but it’s nothing compared to the last year when we had snow.”
Carol Chaplin, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, is also hoping for favorable months ahead.
“MLK (Day) is always a strong holiday,” Chaplin said in an email, “but February/March are really the solid months of winter business, and with a possible wet pattern for those months, we hope to bring this season home strong.”