Jackson Hole Sees Rise Of Winter Visitors; Not Just Recreational Ones
Despite the pandemic, Jackson Hole hosted more visitors this past December than in that same month for 2019. But it's not all about skiing.
Anna Olson, CEO of Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, said they are seeing a different mix of visitors.
"Much higher numbers of people just coming for rest and relaxation, [the] park, winter experiences," said Olson. "Not necessarily just the number one attracter normally, obviously being skiing or snowboarding, we are still having that kind of visitor."
In December, Jackson Hole saw an increase in lodging occupancy of over 14.2 percent compared last year's numbers. Grand Teton National Park saw a similar trend as recreation visitors increased by 32 percent from 2019's numbers as well.
Olson said this increase makes for a delicate balance between welcoming visitors and making sure the pandemic is under control.
"We have been able to balance allowing business and many of our community remain in employment. Tourism is our number one economy. Always will be," said Olson. "That has been a critical piece. And so there have been some challenges and frustrations and fears on both sides of the situation."
She said businesses and restaurants are functioning under restrictions. Olson said they have not been marketing for visitors, but rather running a campaign asking people to know the rules about social distancing and business restrictions before arriving. The goal is to make it through the winter without a COVID-related crisis.