2011 shined some light on the tourism industry in North Idaho — employment, wages, and sales were all up from 2010.
An influx in restaurants — such as Lemon Grass, Seasons of Coeur d’Alene, Ugly Fish, and Fire — contributed to the successful year for the industry, creating approximately an additional 200 net jobs. However, pent-up demand, a strong holiday season, and an attractive exchange rate for Canadians also made retailers, hotels and recreational areas popular places to be in North Idaho.
The industry saw a sluggish second and third quarter, but the year ended with overall taxable sales up nearly 8 percent while lodging sales increased by $1.8 million from $75 million in 2010 to $76.8 million in 2011. Both the first and last quarters of 2011 saw the largest jump in year-over-year sales in over a decade and the first quarter performed its best in three years.
The industry accounts for 14 percent of employment in North Idaho and 7 percent of total wages.
The leisure and hospitality industry (arts, entertainment, recreation, restaurants, accommodation and drink places) plays an important role in North Idaho’s economy by bringing in outside dollars into the community. It is also seen as an economic development tool — the opportunity to draw people to the area that would not otherwise do so. The exposure brings opportunity to attract potential businesses and families, resulting in additional revenue and economic vitality to the region.
Filed Under: Monthly Focus
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