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North Lake Tahoe Key Economic Indicators Show Significant Increase

August 23, 2013

Two key economic indicators for the North Lake Tahoe area have shown overall increases in revenue for eastern Placer County destinations. Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) and overall sales tax revenues were up from previous reporting periods. Revenues from the TOT are up approximately $1.6 million over the previous year, a 15 percent increase. Sales tax for the winter quarter (Jan., Feb., Mar.) of 2013 is up a whopping 22.5 percent over the previous year. Despite a fourth quarter where TOT revenues were actually down, overall, the county had a banner year. Other highlights include:

  • FY 12-13 TOT was the highest ever recorded, $11,290,565, for the Tahoe area, up from $9,828,896  last year;
  • Countywide, FY 2012-13 represents the largest TOT collections in Placer County history; and
  • Previously, the highest recorded collection period was FY 2010-11, at $10,504,078 countywide, $10,137,704 in the Tahoe area.

Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) is a charge added to the cost of a room (motel, hotel, condominium, etc.) paid by visitors to the area who stay less than 30 days. This past winter season, revenue numbers are showing that visitors came to the lake and surrounding areas in record numbers. While a direct connection between increased numbers of visitors and infrastructure and amenity improvements cannot be made, the increases in these latest indicators suggests that as the overall quality of the Lake Tahoe features and amenities improves, more visitors come to Tahoe, enjoy their stay and are more likely to return.

Placer County, partnering with the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association and other local jurisdictions, has been making public investments on the North Shore to improve the infrastructure and amenities available to visitors. These public partnerships are in response to a growing interest in year round, family-oriented outdoor recreational activities. Some of these projects include:

  • Increased biking and walking trails;
  • water taxi service;
  • wayfinding signage;
  • visitor information centers at key locations;
  • airport shuttle, the “North Tahoe Express; and
  • greater frequency and longer hours for public transportation.

In keeping with the outdoor recreational interests of the area, the Resort Association has succeeded in securing a multi-year deal bringing the Ironman triathlon competitions to Lake Tahoe. The inaugural event will take place in September during the typical slow “shoulder” season in Tahoe.

“Placer County has worked hard with our public and private partners to improve the overall experience for visitors who come to the lake,” said Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, whose district includes the Placer County portion of Lake Tahoe. “Visitors have many options of where to spend their vacation dollars and it’s incumbent on us for the economic health of the area to make North Lake Tahoe the best it can be.”

Placer County has several large infrastructure projects that are either completed or in the works. They include the Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Project, which will upgrade a 1.1-mile stretch of Highway 28 through the center of this North Tahoe community. The project will significantly improve walkability in this mountain community and reduce the amount of polluted runoff reaching the lake. Other Placer County projects include: 

  • the Tahoe City Transit Center, an award winning intermodal public transportation hub in Tahoe City;
  • the Lake Forest Meadow Restoration Project which has had Kokanee salmon return to the waters of the creek running through the meadow;
  • the Snow Creek Stream Restoration Project;
  • the Dollar Creek Share Use Trail;
  • the Alpine Meadows Bridge replacement; and
  • the Homewood Water Quality Improvement Project.

Significant private investment is also happening in the area. Northstar recently completed upgrades to both its facilities and amenities that are available to visitors. On the West Shore, Homewood Mountain Resort is beginning an expansion, as is Squaw Valley.

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