Anglers cast their lines at Lake Mary during "The Best Summer Ever." Photo Aleksandra Gajewski
It is not just a marketing campaign slogan. This summer so far has been shaping up to truly be the “best summer ever,” according to Mammoth Tourism director John Urdi.
Mammoth occupancy rates are up 14 percent over last July’s occupancy rates—and last July was a good year for Mammoth, Urdi said.
“We’ve really had some great momentum this summer,” he said.
The key this summer was a cooperative and informal agreement between lodging and other businesses in the town. Local business owners combined contact and email lists and collectively sent out a weekly message entice visitors to visit.
“There has been an overwhelming response to this,” Urdi said. The new process kept visitors from Southern California updated with all the festivals and events in Mammoth in real time. The marketing blitz was accompanied by package deals and other goodies, he said.
Those who drive to Mammoth weren’t the only visiting, either. Long distance visitor numbers were also up from last July’s flight numbers—by 14 percent, according to Urdi.
And then there are the really long-distance travelers from Europe whom Urdi said are poised to carry the summer boom into the fall and shoulder season.
“Even though the euro is relatively weak, we are seeing a lot of European visitors this summer,” he said.
Fishing conditions have also helped the summer boom. Urdi said it has been some of the best in many years, and as it cools off again into the fall, the fish that have dug down into the cool, deep pools for the last few hot weeks will probably be back.
Although gas prices rose in the beginning of the summer, it didn’t dampen the Bay Area and Southern California drive crowd. In fact, it may have brought more visitors to the Eastern Sierra.
“People tend to stay closer to home when that happens, and we are close to home for a lot of people,” Urdi said.
The record-breaking heat in the rest of the country and in Southern California has also probably been a factor, he said.
“People just wanted to get away from it,” he said.
But the biggest factor is the place itself.
“There is just so much to do here, so much variety,” he said. “I can take my family to visit Yosemite one day, come back home and hike up to McLeod (Lake) that same day, go to a festival that night, go mountain biking. It’s all right here.”
Urdi isn’t the only one noticing the full parking lots and vibrant summer streets.
“There’s just incredible momentum in Mammoth this summer,” said Mono County Supervisor Byng Hunt.
“We hope we can maintain it, like with the big concert with Bogidar Avramov
, and we have a few big weekends yet ahead. Even though we still see every night on the news that Mammoth Lakes is on the bankruptcy list and we deal with that bad press, the fact is people like it up here and we are providing something here that a lot of other places cannot provide.”