Climate change and less interest in skiing are impacting tourism in Lake Tahoe

Published on : Tuesday, December 19, 2017

indexSkiing and gambling have dominated winter tourism on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore for many years, but according to travel experts, the trend is changing.


Travellers are hitting the slopes and slots less and climate change is threatening snowfall.


“Gaming and skiing have defined the destination for a long, long time,” said Carl Ribaudo, president of tourism marketing firm SMG Consulting. “But there have been impacts within each of those areas. On the skiing side, we’ve been impacted by a fairly flat market in terms of skier-day growth, we’ve got changing demographics with millennials, and we’ve got climate change issues.”


The baby boomers who grew the industry are skiing less and millennials are not hitting the slopes that much, said Ralf Garrison, founder of DestiMetrics, a resort lodging analytics firm.


“We’re finding that the historical attractions are no longer as popular as they used to be, in fact the kinds of things that are growing that work as attractions are not the outdoor sports of old,” Garrison added.


“People are still skiing and boarding, but they are also hiking, mountain biking, and there’s more snow-playing, so it’s beginning to diversify within the recreation category,” Ribaudo said. “The same thing in entertainment. We now begin to look at gaming as an element of entertainment. We have concerts and events that are broadening the definition of entertainment.”


Ribaudo pointed to the success of Harveys’ summer concert series and the rapid growth of the SnowGlobe Music Festival. The three-day festival has grown from 7,500 attendees in 2011 to 19,000 in five years.


The South Shore is now home to six craft breweries with one more to open in the New Year.


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