Summer has been good to Tahoe, as in record-breaking good. Tourists fleeing summer heat waves in the flatlands and a recovering economy have driven a large increase in hotel room bookings and shopping, according to recent tax revenue figures from Placer County.

Placer County’s transient occupancy tax (TOT), collected from lodging properties, was up approximately $1.6 million over the previous year, a 15 percent increase. At $11.3 million, it was the single largest year of lodging tax collection in Placer County history.

“As I walk around town, people are singing a happy, tired tune,” said Steve Hoch, executive director of the Tahoe City Downtown Association. Hoch credits the big summer to steady, gorgeous weather, a mending economy, and heat spells that have cooked valley towns. “That usually squeezes people up here,” he said.


There is a growing optimism that this summer was not an anomaly, and that strong visitor numbers are here to stay.

“I think we are hitting on all the right cylinders right now,” said Hoch.

Hoch and Tahoe business owners hope that the big summer leads into a big fall for local commerce. Tahoe will play host to IRONMAN on Sept. 22, which has already proven to be an economic boon for the area. Triathletes have been coming up to the area to train for the high-altitude event, and IRONMAN will return to Tahoe for the next five years, and maybe more.

“Personally, I would not be surprised if this is the strongest September in years,” said Hoch.

Meanwhile, the TOT that has been coming in at record levels this summer will be put to work funding Tahoe projects like transit and trails that will improve Tahoe’s appeal to tourists for years to come.

“It is a virtuous circle. One good thing leads to another,” said Hoch.

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  • David Bunker

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