A “Prosperity Playbook” for the Tahoe-Truckee Regional Economy

How do We Diversify and Strengthen Tahoe’s Economy?

On its surface, the Tahoe-Truckee regional economy appears strong, powered by billions of dollars in annual tourism spending and skyrocketing real estate values. A deeper look reveals that the tourism industry accounts for more than 60% of the Basin’s economic output, up from approximately 40% in 2010. While tourism will always be a mainstay in Lake Tahoe and a vital part of our economic future, relying so heavily on just one industry for local livelihoods, and as a tax base for our schools, healthcare, police, and fire is risky. COVID-19, the Caldor Fire, worsening drought, and workforce and housing crises, have placed new urgency on ensuring that the Tahoe Basin economy not only recovers, but becomes stronger and more resilient through diversification strategies.

The Tahoe Recovery and Resiliency Strategy

The Tahoe Prosperity Center was created at the recommendation of the Tahoe Prosperity Plan in 2010 to act as the steward for identified strategies therein. In 2021, the Tahoe Prosperity Center was selected by the U.S. Economic Development Administration to facilitate a Regional Economic Recovery and Resiliency Strategy for the people of the Tahoe-Truckee Region because of our consistent work with our partners in housing, broadband, and workforce development. We launched Envision Tahoe: Prosperity Plan 2.0. This work began with an initial report to analyze “baseline” conditions, followed by a second report that collected and synthesized input from stakeholders throughout the Tahoe community.

“Diversifying tourism and recreation-based economies like Tahoe is a decades-old challenge that many communities in the U.S. and abroad have tackled, with some success stories to inspire us.”

A “Prosperity Playbook” for the Tahoe-Truckee Region

In June 2022, the Envision Tahoe effort culminated in the “Prosperity Playbook.” The Playbook lays out a vision the economy our community desires to have in the future: diversified, resilient, and inclusive. The Envision Tahoe team chose a “Playbook” because, by its nature, it is nimble and includes strategies that are adaptable to changing conditions. It is able to seize opportunities and look for near-term wins while maintaining focus on the ultimate goal. Among its many “plays” are progress toward fundamental issues, such as housing, transportation and tourism. Also included are new strategies, such as driving entrepreneurship, supporting new industry clusters, and creating new skill pathways for workers. Importantly, the “Prosperity Playbook” creates an opportunity to make progress in many, connected areas through collaboration, measurement and accountability.

With the publication of the “Prosperity Playbook,” the Envision Tahoe process moves into its next critical phase: community action to achieve a more diversified, resilient and inclusive economy for all.

TPC Launches Tahoe INc.

Local business, government, education, community and tribal leaders all came together last year through an initiative funded by the Tahoe Prosperity Center called Envision Tahoe to lay the groundwork for a more resilient Tahoe, one with diverse pathways to new career possibilities and avenues for Tahoe workers to live locally and support their families. This effort is called Tahoe Inc.

Before Tahoe Inc., there was little systemic support for entrepreneurs or individuals wishing to start or grow their business. The effects of the pandemic, the Caldor Fire, and dramatic shifts in the economy and the environment were a wake-up call to preserve our future and increase support in a new economic foundation.

A committed group of volunteer entrepreneurs, Tahoe Inc. aims to re-connect innovators, nonprofits, business leaders, startups, and investors with monthly programming and peer-to-peer mentorship, events, and more.

Envision Tahoe VOLUNTEER Leadership and Project Team

Since September 2021, the work of Envision Tahoe has been guided by an impressive all-volunteer group of private, public, and community leaders carefully selected from all over the Tahoe-Truckee Region for their diverse representation and viewpoints. Each person has agreed to work with their colleagues to inform, propel, and be champions for this change effort. The Catalyst Committee is co-chaired by Placer County Board of Supervisors Chair Cindy Gustafson and OutdoorGearLab founder Chris McNamara. The Envision Tahoe project team is supported by Integrated Communications Strategies, LLC (ICS), which is engaging local residents, business people and associations, governments, education, environmental, and community organizations to develop strategies and tactical action plans to diversify Tahoe’s economic base, backed by the latest data and evidence.
To sign up for updates on the Envision Tahoe project and efforts to create a more resilient regional economy, please add your email here: