Tahoe ranked No. 1 on travel Web site as South Shore prepares for summer visitors | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe ranked No. 1 on travel Web site as South Shore prepares for summer visitors

Staff and wire reports

Lake Tahoe ranks first in the nation among choice vacation destinations newly ranked by the major travel Web site, TripAdvisor.com.

The independent worldwide travel source put Lake Tahoe atop the list of its first Choice Destinations Awards, based on the opinions of millions of travelers. Tahoe ranked 10th worldwide.

“It is a testament to the beauty of Lake Tahoe, of how appealing it is in all four seasons,” said Tim Maland, director of the Nevada Commission on Tourism.

Winners were determined by a combination of TripAdvisor travelers’ favorite places and overall popularity on TripAdvisor.

“This award comes at a perfect time with our summer season upon us,” said Sue Barton deputy director of Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. “This summer is full of events starting with Opening Days Lake Tahoe, June 20-22, Fourth of July fireworks and the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, complementing Tahoe’s breathtaking scenery and outdoor adventure that traveler’s crave.”

Other Lake Tahoe awards include top rankings from Orbitz.com as the No. 1 ski destination in 2007; and numerous designations from SKI Magazine, Skiing Magazine, Transworld Snowboarding for diverse categories such as snow quality, scenery, off-hill activities, and terrain parks for Heavenly Mountain Resort, Kirkwood Mountain Resort and Sierra-at-Tahoe.

Good Morning America’s Ron Claiborne said, “Tahoe is a special place with the lake and the mountains. It’s my favorite spot in the world.”

South Lake Tahoe is ranked No. 9 for some of the best outdoor-oriented towns year-round according to Sperling’s BestPlaces, a web site that analyzes data and rates places to live for major publications.

South Shore has chalked up additional media mentions including MSNBC.com (June 2005) “Best Place for Fireworks” for Fourth of July Fireworks, a “Top Destination for New Years Eve” (June 2005) by Priceline.com.

in the Tripadvisor.com survey, Big Sur, Calif., was ranked second in the U.S. followed by San Francisco, Poipu, Hawaii and Sedona, Ariz. New Orleans was ranked sixth, ahead of Carmel, Calif.; Napa, Calif.; Lahaina, Hawaii and La Jolla, Calif.

“It is obviously a great accolade for the destination,” said Andy Chapman, director of tourism for the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. “Most importantly, it comes from people who have been here.”

“TripAdvisor is a social network. It is all about people gauging and voting and giving others their thoughts about their trips to the destinations. So, having the visitors and travels who have actually been here give us that kind of ranking in the world and the No. 1 ranking in the U.S. is very good for us,” he said.”

Tops in the world were Milford Sound, New Zealand; Queenstown, New Zealand; Philipsburg, St. Maarten and Cayo Largo, Cuba.

“Whether it’s the unique beauty or abundance of attractions, the 2008 Travelers’ Choice Destinations Awards honor the most beloved destinations from around the world,” said Michele Perry, vice president of global communications for TripAdvisor.

“Determined by millions of travelers, the Travelers’ Choice Destinations Awards are unique because they single out not just popular places but truly exceptional places that enthrall travelers and keep them coming back.”

Lake Tahoe’s ranking will help market the area as the Reno-Tahoe region enters its busiest tourist season, Maland said.

“We will use this as a third-party endorsement about the beauty of Lake Tahoe,” Maland said. “The regional marketing committee and the individual properties will refer to it as well as the RSCVA (Reno-Tahoe Convention & Visitors Authority) and the (Reno-Tahoe International) airport.

“Everyone in the region will use it to some extent because it is a great statement,” Maland said. “It will be used in advertising and public relations releases, too. So, I think you will hear about it from a lot of sources.”

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