Thanksgiving tourism to pick up this weekend on the South Shore

Griffin Rogers

Tourism on Thanksgiving was apparently so-so in South Shore this year, as many hotels reported earlier this week that about half of their rooms would be vacant.

While the numbers were lower than the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority hoped, the weekend seems to be showing exceptionally stronger figures, LTVA Executive Director Carol Chaplin said.

“I do think it’s a little bit mixed in terms of what I’m getting back from our lodging partners,” she said. “But overall, the weekend is fairly strong.”

In most cases, occupancy for South Shore hotels this weekend rested at about 80 to 90 percent as of Tuesday, she said, and many hotels were hopeful that there would be additional late reservations by today.

“I think this weekend we are going to see some strong visitation, but it’s going to be hard to compare it to last year at this point.”
Carol Chaplin
LTVA Executive Director

South Shore’s recent snowfall and the opening of some ski resorts are likely leading factors in the weekend’s stronger turnout, Chaplin said.

“People are eager to get back out in the snow again after the dry spell,” she said.

As for the lower number of hotel bookings on Thanksgiving, Chaplin said she isn’t demoralized by their reports.

“I’m not disheartened from the information I got from the lodging properties,” she said Tuesday. “I think this weekend we are going to see some strong visitation, but it’s going to be hard to compare it to last year at this point.”

Brett Hunn, director of marketing at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa, said his business is experiencing similar turnouts.

On Tuesday, occupancy was at 50 percent for Wednesday and 60 percent for Thursday. But for the weekend, Hunn said he did not expect any vacancies.

“We’re looking good over the weekend,” he said.

Thanksgiving might be a small contributor to MontBleu’s full house, but Hunn said reaching 100 percent occupancy this weekend is most likely caused by the ski resorts’ opening.

“We were really crossing our fingers and hoping the resorts would be more open than they are …” he said Tuesday, “but (tourists) are still coming up.”

This year’s occupancy figures are on par with last year’s numbers during the same week, Hunn said. In other words, the resort is predicting a busy weekend after families finish their turkeys.

“We’re finding people still love to travel to Tahoe,” he said, “and we’re looking to having a good, strong weekend.”

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