Twin Falls tourism industry rebounds
TWIN FALLS – Now that COVID-19 restrictions have eased, there are more opportunities to go out, attend events, and participate in more recreational activities.
All of these factors have a positive impact on the tourism industry in Twin Falls, which is the city’s fifth largest industry. The Twin Falls Chamber of Commerce has reported a record number of visitors to the visitor center and to the area in recent weeks.
“Compared to 2019, which would have been a more normal spring season, we are actually doubling the number of visitors,” said Shawn Bairgar, president of the Chamber of Commerce. “And the number of sales in our visitor center from 2021 to date.
From March to May 2019, a total of 11,286 visitors registered at the Visitor Center. From March to May in 2020, there were only 3,598 people who visited.
However, it was because of the coronavirus pandemic and the center was closed for a while. This year, there was a recorded number of 24,800 visitors during the same period, with 12,861 visitors in the past month.
After a successful Memorial Day weekend, the chamber believes the growth is due to visitors from surrounding areas. 500 to 700 people visited each day, compared to 300 per day in May 2019.
“A lot of times we were where you left off, on your way to another place, like Yellowstone or Glacier,” Barigar said. “I think we’re seeing a lot more people making south central Idaho a destination in and of itself. Definitely, for our rugged outdoor activities, mountain biking, hiking, enjoying the river.
The chamber also attributes the growing number of visitors to people who have been vaccinated. There are also more opportunities for people to take advantage of, like the recent Shoshone Falls After Dark event.
“We started to see some of the impact, a positive impact, of the new flight from Denver and people coming to the area,” Barigar said. “We have seen a pick-up in business travel which is helping our hotels and restaurants increase their occupancy and events are something we look forward to for the rest of the summer.
While a large portion of visitors come from Idaho and the surrounding states, officials predict that more people will visit as more travel options become available.
“As we see different types of travel recover, like air travel, business group travel, international travel,” Barigar said. “It was also a part of our visitors’ bread and butter that we didn’t have in 2020 and haven’t yet started to recover in 2021.