North Lake Tahoe tourism master plan heading to Oct. 20 vote
KINGS BEACH, Calif. — North Lake Tahoe’s future may include a connected trail system and a free and frequent regional bus service that can attract faraway visitors with its natural resources and activity opportunities.
That’s the vision outlined in the final draft of the 2015 North Lake Tahoe Tourism Master Plan to continue the North Shore’s transformation into a national and international destination.
“Even though a lot of things that we do in North Lake Tahoe have an open benefit to the locals that live here and (provide) the citizens a higher quality of life, really our focus in doing a master plan is how do we enhance that visitor experience,” Sandy Evans Hall, CEO of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, said at an NLTRA board of directors meeting last week.
To accomplish that, the plan serves as a roadmap for officials on how to spend Transient Occupancy Tax funds by defining a long-term tourism vision and an investment plan.
TOT is a charge added to the cost of a room — motel, hotel, condominium — paid by area visitors who stay fewer than 30 days.
Despite mild winters in recent years, TOT collection in eastern Placer County has surpassed the pre-recession peak amount of $9.24 million in 2007-08, with $11.98 in 2013-14 and nearly $11.7 million in 2012-13, according to the NLTRA.
Yet, according to final draft plan, Lake Tahoe’s popularity is falling behind comparable destinations such as Mammoth Lakes, Calif. and Park City, Utah, for wintertime; and Napa and Monterey, Calif., for summertime.
Areas that North Lake Tahoe falls short compared to these destinations include lodging accommodations, public transit and activity offerings, according to the document.
“Travelers are looking for unique, high quality opportunities for outdoor recreation, relaxation and rejuvenation, and North Lake Tahoe comes up short when measured against its competition,” the final draft plan states.
To ensure the region remains competitive, the plan outlines several recommendations that are divided into two tiers — Tier 1 for singular, top priorities and Tier 2 for subset additional priorities.
Tier 1 recommendations include providing a connected trail system throughout North Lake Tahoe, implementing a free,and frequent transit service, launching user-friendly technology to guide visitors and increasing the number of faraway visitors.
Meanwhile, Tier 2 recommendations consist of advancing efforts to improve the quality and variety of lakeshore lodging properties, advocating for more direct flights into Reno and Sacramento airports, investing in world-class events and installing more way-finding signage to key sites.
This ranking system will guide recommendations for TOT fund allocations.
VOTING NEXT WEEK IN TAHOE
The final plan will need approval by the Placer County Board of Supervisors — with an Oct. 20 vote anticipated — before it can be implemented.
The master plan will be a 9:30 a.m. timed item at the supervisors’ meeting at the North Tahoe Event Center, 8318 North Lake Blvd. in Kings Beach.
If adopted, the 2015 North Lake Tahoe Tourism Master Plan will serve as a guide for long-term tourism investments in North Shore communities.
This effort marks the third reiteration of the tourism plan, with the two past having been created in 1995 and 2004.