South Lake Tahoe tourism strong on President’s Day weekend
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — Sunshine and warm temperatures at Lake Tahoe’s South Shore didn’t seem to scare visitors away on President’s Day weekend. In fact, tourism was reported to be up from last year.
According to the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, many lodgings were sold out over the three-day weekend and a lot of the area’s restaurants stayed full.
“I haven’t heard anything that didn’t indicate that everybody had a really, really strong weekend,” LTVA Executive Director Carol Chaplin said, adding occupancy and revenues were reported to have surpassed the previous year.
A high number of visitors were expected heading into the holiday, since both Valentine’s Day and President’s Day fell on the three-day weekend.
But Chaplin said even those expectations were exceeded.
“I think, generally speaking, we are working very hard to make sure our potential visitors understand that we still have winter recreation and that a dry January and first part of February doesn’t mean we’ve given up on winter,” she said.
Chaplin singled out clear roads and sunny skies as factors that may have helped draw people to the area.
“I think February is going to end up being much stronger and a much better month than people might have originally thought,” she said.
The number of overnight stays has also been a positive sign for the season so far, according to the LTVA. Many South Shore lodging properties are reporting a 20 to 30 percent increase in occupancy from December through February, as well as a rise in the average daily rate.
“We’re just seeing tourism continue to increase just like other California, Nevada and national trends are pointing to,” Chaplin said.
One area that’s not so strong, however, is mid-week occupancy. Chaplin noted that weekends have continuously been strong for lodging reservations, but the LTVA would like to see longer stays in the middle of the week.
“This week is probably where we’d love to have more visitation,” Chaplin said, “but we’re happy with what we’re getting.”
At Tahoe Lakeshore Lodge & Spa, owner Pat Ronan echoed much of what Chaplin reported, saying the lodge was at 100 percent occupancy over most of President’s Day weekend.
He said staff has been handing out maps to hiking trails and other outdoor activities that are usually reserved for summer.
“People are finding other things to do,” Ronan said, “and that’s good.”
On the topic of summer, Ronan added that tourism is also looking up for the mid-year months. He said advanced summer bookings are the strongest the lodge has seen — they are up 25 percent from last year.
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