Envision Tahoe

Lake Tahoe Basin Prosperity Plan 2.0

How do We Diversify and Strengthen Tahoe’s Economy?

On its surface, the Tahoe Basin 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. And the risks are mounting due to economic downturns, worsening wildfires, and changing weather patterns. Meanwhile, data show that the Basin’s economy isn’t working for many residents who are struggling to find living wage employment and affordable housing. This is accelerating an existing workforce shortage across Tahoe’s service-based economy. These challenges – and what can be done to address them – have been an issue in the Tahoe Basin for decades. 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. The Tahoe Prosperity Center was recently selected by the U.S. Economic Development Administration to facilitate a Regional Economic Recovery and Resiliency Strategy for the people of the Tahoe Basin because of our consistent work with our partners in housing, broadband, and workforce development. We have received $164,000 in seed capital for this planning and community engagement effort. Since being awarded this crucial funding, Tahoe Prosperity Center has begun putting the economic diversification strategy in motion and launched Envision Tahoe: Prosperity Plan 2.0.

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“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.”

Envision Tahoe Leadership and Project Team

The Tahoe Prosperity Center has formed a Basin-Wide Steering Committee for Envision Tahoe, co-chaired by Placer County Supervisor Cindy Gustafson and OutdoorGearLab founder Chris McNamara. The Basin Wide Steering Committee includes approximately three dozen individuals from various communities around Lake Tahoe who represent business, education, workforce, community, government and tribal organizations and is charged with identifying challenges and solutions to Tahoe’s economic challenges and efforts at diversification. The Envision Tahoe project team includes Integrated Communications Strategies, LLC (ICS), which will engage 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. What we’re most looking forward to facilitating in a two-state, five-county region comes directly from ICS:
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“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. But experience tells us that what works in one community, works in that community precisely because of its unique history, system and political constructs, area leadership, public and private sector actors, the resources available (or not), and sometimes simply good luck or good timing. We believe the diversification strategy for Tahoe in the next three to five years can be inspired by others, but it must be designed and enacted in a way that matches Tahoe’s unique socio-economic context and systems, and include greater equity and inclusion.”
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