Tourism is Benefitting Our Community More Than Ever – NTCA
Tourism is Benefitting Our Community More Than Ever

Mon | May 6, 2024

Tourism is Benefitting Our Community More Than Ever

Recently, NTCA president and CEO Tony Karwowski penned the op-ed you’ll find below. This op-ed was published in the Sierra Sun.

Tourism is Benefitting Our Community More Than Ever
By Tony Karwowski, NTCA president and CEO

Although the debate continues to be ongoing with regard to whether tourism benefits our region, the fact is our local economy relies on it. Tourism is what keeps many local businesses open, provides career and other job opportunities to many of our region’s residents, and generates TOT and TBID funding that our community is able to reinvest into programs, services, and infrastructure improvements we need.

The NTCA’s focus since early 2022 has been to establish the framework and processes that allow for the reinvestment of the funds tourism generates, with local oversight. Ultimately, TOT and TBID-generated funds are what allow our community to make progress on workforce housing initiatives, transportation and infrastructure projects, mitigate some of the tourism-related impacts felt by those who live and work here, and enhance quality of life for us all.

I’m pleased to report that with significant community involvement and the ongoing participation of dedicated volunteer committees, processes to reinvest tourism dollars have been enacted and are ensuring tourism is giving back in ways that matter. In fact, because of the relatively recent formation of the North Lake Tahoe Tourism Business Improvement District (NLT-TBID), our region has more tourism-generated funding to allocate to community priorities than ever before.

In April, at the recommendation of the volunteer committees it convenes, comprised of local business and community members, the NTCA Board of Directors voted to invest a total of $4.3 million in tourism-generated funding. Through the TOT-TBID Dollars At Work program’s Annual Grant Cycle, 13 projects that benefit the North Lake Tahoe community were recommended for grants. This investment provides access to matching funds of over $6.3 million, bringing the total investment—in specific workforce housing projects, trails and recreation improvements, litter clean-up, accessibility, and business incubator efforts—to over $10 million.

The projects that received funding through the Annual Grant Cycle are in addition to the 17 projects that were selected in Fall 2023 to receive up to $20 million in funding support over three years through the Sponsorship & Multi-Year Investment Program. The impact of the projects that received sponsorship funding will be felt through workforce housing, trail transit corridor, transportation and tourism impact-related efforts, and have the potential to unlock matching funds up to $35.3 million that can be leveraged over the next three years.

There’s no doubt the TOT-TBID Dollars At Work program is doing exactly what it was designed to do. It has provided our community with a structured way to reinvest TBID and TOT dollars generated in North Lake Tahoe in support of initiatives that contribute to our community’s vitality, economic health and environmental stewardship. These funds are actively being used to address priorities surfaced through community forums, workshops, and surveys, including workforce housing, economic development, transportation, sustainability, tourism mitigation, and trails.

This is just the beginning. The first Annual Grant cycle is now complete, and we are already looking ahead to the next one that will launch in early Fall 2024. Tourism dollars are being spent to improve what matters most to North Lake Tahoe residents, businesses, and visitors.

Learn more about the projects and initiatives that have been funded by tourism here.