USA– WA- Lake Chelan businesses are suffering after wildfires chased away summer tourists. According to the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce, business in August dropped about 75 percent. The lake resort town counts on summer tourists to survive the rest of the year.
Lacey Lybecker, with the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce, said the best way to help the town is to come visit.
“Book a stay, come visit us, and support your local businesses,” said Lybecker.
Lybecker said the town is in wildfire country, but this year the fires came very close to town, even knocking out power for a few days in August. She wants tourists to know the smoke is gone and the weather is beautiful.
At Lake Chelan Winery/BBQ in the Vineyard business dropped significantly. The restaurant would usually serve about 400 customers each night,; last month they had 15-20 people a night.
“It’s pretty devastating. In addition to the loss of business it’s had an impact on a lot of our employees. We’ve had to cut hours and it’s going to have a lot of trickle-down impact on the economy,” said Ben Williams, of Lake Chelan Winery/BBQ in the Vineyard.
He hopes tourists will think of Chelan this fall.
“Bring your sunscreen because it’s beautiful here,” added Williams.
Wapato Point Resort saw a lot of cancellations.
“People just didn’t want to even risk coming over here,” said Cherie Crose, of Wapato Point Resort.
The time-share resort said many owners who chose not to come offered up their units to displaced homeowners and firefighters.
Crose hopes to see more bookings this fall.
“The weather is great. There is no smoke and it’s one of the best times to vacation in the entire lake. It would certainly be great to see the tourist trade return.”
According to the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce, Labor Day weekend was on par with previous years, a good sign as businesses struggle to make up lost revenue.