Some big summer events were canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, including an art festival and a water quality celebration. Rebecca Peters, at Okoboji Tourism, says there have definitely been fewer visitors, adding, many people have been waiting until the last minute to book a vacation to the area.
Peters says, “That allows them to see how our community’s COVID numbers are doing and to ensure that they’re staying low and that the attractions that they want to visit will be open and following safety measures.” Peters says the community has come together to create a safe environment for tourism. She says visitors have embraced safety measures, like wearing masks and social distancing.
Peters says businesses took a lot of precautions, including the weekly concerts in Arnolds Park. Large circles were painted throughout the concert venue six feet apart to distance groups of people from each other so they could enjoy the event safely.
She says, “That just allows people to be outside and to have some visual cues, allowing people to social distance and enjoy live music and beautiful sunsets over the lake and then fireworks every Saturday night afterwards.”
As the summer tourism season concludes, hotel-motel tax revenue is down 18% from April through June of this year in Dickinson County.
(By Katie Peikes, Iowa Public Radio)