Visit Truckee-Tahoe touts achievements
However, tourism officials say there is more work to be done
On Tuesday, members of Truckee Town Council were given an update from Visit Truckee-Tahoe on the town’s tourism economy and how the organization’s funds are spent.
The total operating budget for Visit Truckee-Tahoe for the 2021-22 fiscal year is $1.4 million, and includes a surplus of $727,914 from two years of no tourism advertising during COVID-19, plus no event sponsorships, and a conservative reserves plan due to the pandemic.
Visit Truckee-Tahoe is funded through a 1.25% tourism business improvement district fee levied on hotels and short-term rentals, and prioritizes sustainability, visitation management and a balanced tourism economy through a number of projects and programs.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, Visit Truckee-Tahoe CEO Colleen Dalton provided a rundown of the organization’s highlights from the past year, including last spring’s launch of the Sustainable Truckee Gift Card. Through the program, Visit Truckee-Tahoe matches 25% of the card value and dedicates funds toward projects like meadow restoration, trail work, and graffiti cleanup. More than 200 cards have been sold, generating more than $3,500 in funds for stewardship causes.
The organization has also provided $10,000 to the Truckee Trails Foundation for the Ridgeline Nature Loop, and $7,000 to the Tahoe Backcountry Alliance to increase parking from 30 to 60 spaces.
Additionally, Visit Truckee-Tahoe has worked to identify and mitigate negative impacts from tourism and outdoor use, like illegal fire rings, lack of restrooms, and issues with trash and dog waste bags at trail heads and in parking areas.
“This is the canary in the coal mine,” said Dalton. “We have to catch up with population growth, residency growth, higher visitation — we have some challenges ahead.”
In order to help educate visitors and locals, Visit Truckee-Tahoe recently launched six programs and sponsorships for the winter season. They include winter trailhead signs, which have had 290 QR code scans in five weeks and provide information on parking, weather, avalanche conditions, and access to shuttles. Other programs include the Truckee Trails Foundation winter trail host ambassadors; a digital winter recreation map; sponsorship of Tahoe Backcountry Alliance West End Beach snow plowing; the gift card matching campaign; and 61 flagpole banners in downtown Truckee.
“(Visit Truckee-Tahoe) has a desire to be known as the organization that makes the rubber hit the road,” said Visit Truckee-Tahoe Chair Jim Winterberger in a letter to Town Council. “We humbly recognize that we are not there yet, and it will take a community to support our mission. Much work is to be done. Many improvements need to be made.”
Going forward, Visit Truckee-Tahoe stated its focus is on funding projects and programs that enhance and prepare Truckee to become a globally recognized and certified sustainable destination by encouraging visitation at appropriate times while managing visitor expectations and influencing behavior during guest stays.
For more information, visit http://www.visittruckeetahoe.com.
The orginial version of the story that ran in the Feb. 25 edition of the Sierra Sun, “Visit Truckee-Tahoe touts achievements,” incorrectly stated the reason Visit Truckee-Tahoe had a surplus from last fiscal year. The surplus is from two years of no tourism advertising during COVID-19, plus no event sponsorships, and a conservative reserves plan due to the pandemic.
The Sun regrets the error.
Justin Scacco is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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