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Board gives OK to 2015 North Lake Tahoe Tourism Master Plan

October 21, 2015

After three years of research and public outreach, a draft of the 2015 North Lake Tahoe Tourism Master Plan was approved Oct. 20 by the Placer County Board of Supervisors at their Kings Beach meeting.

The plan, the second revision of the original 1995 document, will serve as a guiding document for future tourism investment and sets out priorities to continue to transform North Lake Tahoe into a national and international destination. A minimum of 60 percent of the transient occupancy tax collected at North Lake Tahoe is used to fund upgrades to infrastructure and visitor amenities.

North Lake Tahoe has a tourism-driven economy. Each year, North Shore visitors spend more than $500 million. More than 60 percent of employment and 51 percent of all earnings can be attributed to tourism. Research that was incorporated into the plan shows that North Lake Tahoe continues to be recognized as a destination for outdoor recreation and that segment continues to grow.

However, the plan notes that in many ways North Lake Tahoe comes up short when measured against its competition. The research identified current trends and revealed North Lake Tahoe’s strengths and weaknesses in relationship to other destination resort areas.

“I’m pleased that there were opportunities for public input as this plan was being drafted. It is critically important that these documents be vetted by not only the public, but the municipal advisory councils and other stakeholders,” said Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, whose district includes Placer County’s portion of Lake Tahoe. “If we’re to move forward to improve the Tahoe area as a tourism destination, we need to have a healthy consensus of the actions we need to take.”  

The plan identified four top priorities where investment should be directed:

  • Improving visitor activities, which includes expanding, connecting and maintaining the North Shore’s many trails and adding amenities to the trail system such as restrooms, signage and connections to public transportation;
  • Increasing transportation to provide free, year-round public transit with shorter wait times and extended hours of service connecting resort areas; 
  • Increasing domestic and international destination visitors traveling from longer distances; and
  • Providing user-friendly visitor guide technology accessible on a variety of devices.

The Master Plan Task Force, which includes community leaders and Placer County representatives, drafted the revision after looking at research from a wide variety of sources. The task force also reviewed the previous two plans, conducted studies and engaged the public through different outreach venues. 

Public outreach was a large component of the revised plan. During spring and summer of 2015, public workshops on the North Shore enabled the task force to share the 2015 draft plan and gather ideas that were used to create a public survey. This survey, an interactive website, gathered feedback on priorities through an additional avenue for public input. The information gleaned from this four-month process was used to refine the draft goals and identify priorities that will be used to direct investment of transient occupancy tax funds over the next eight years.

Once minor technical edits are made to the draft plan, it will become a final document.

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