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Throngs of visitors expected this weekend

Susan Wood, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Tourism officials expect a profitable Labor Day holiday.

“Every indication I’ve had is it should be a solid holiday weekend,” said Bill Chernock, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority.

He added August has been “very solid” for visitation to South Lake Tahoe.



At Stateline, Harrah’s Vice President of Marketing Skip Sayre reiterated the same claim, and he qualified the expectation with a comparison to the Fourth of July.

According to anecdotal reports, the July holiday turned out to be a significant one for business, but the city’s transient occupancy tax numbers are recorded only through June. The casinos rely on lodging in the California city to bring in their players.



“It’s not as solid as the Fourth (holiday). But we’re excited. It should be a good weekend,” Sayre said, adding that being the end of summer is possibly a factor in lower holiday attendance.

Some students have returned to school — accentuating the difference between those letting their hair down on vacations in July and some taking part in quickie getaways over the upcoming weekend.

“There’s still availability in town, but I think the drive-up market will be fine,” South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association President Jim Foff said.

Foff, who runs the Fantasy Inn, said Friday’s bookings are nearly sold out and Saturday is full.

As usual, the city’s Campground By The Lake has sold out for the weekend after a lackluster slow week, park Superintendent Steve Weiss said.

“That’s pretty normal this time of year,” Weiss said.

The other usual report declares the holiday as one charactrized by ground transportation — a trend that traditionally fares well for the South Lake Tahoe area.

AAA predicts more than 4.6 million Californians — one out of seven people — and 282,200 Nevadans will travel at least 50 miles or more during the extended weekend. This represents a 1 percent drop in contrast to the previous year. AAA anticipates the majority — 80 percent — will travel by car.

Bus and rail service could be bustling, as AAA expects a 7 percent increase from last year.

South Lake Tahoe lost Greyhound Bus service a few months ago, but the Amtrak bus brings some visitors to town from its train connection in Sacramento.

South Lake Tahoe may also be the beneficiary of visitors seeking a place of a rural nature. AAA said these areas could play host to 22 percent of the travelers, with the beaches falling just behind as tourism hot spots.

AAA figured 40 percent of the travelers will prefer to stay overnight in motels and hotels.

Nationwide travel — encompassing 32.7 million people — has dropped 1 percent in comparison to last year, despite the fact that gasoline prices have remained relatively stable without the usual mid-summer spikes.


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