Mariposa is setting tourism records

MARIPOSA COUNTY, California

Mariposa County is enjoying its biggest boom since the gold rush.

"The first six months of the current fiscal year since July 1, we're at a record setting pace," said Rick Benson, the Administrative Officer for Mariposa County. "We've gotten more tourism dollars, more hotel visitors than we've ever had before, which is pretty amazing considering the tough economic climate we're in."

County officials say the transient occupancy tax, better known as the hotel tax, is up about seven percent this fiscal year. The Miners Inn is enjoying an even bigger boost right now thanks to the unusually warm winter weather.

Ceslie Brandon, the manager at the Miners Inn said, "We're probably well over 20% above average now because of the nice weather and people being able to travel without chain controls or any weather restrictions."

The county has benefitted from an increase in the number of people who use the Highway 140 entrance to Yosemite National Park. But the local tourism bureau is also making an impact. It has a Facebook page with more than 40 thousand fans, plus television and radio ads targeting Californians who want an affordable vacation.

Benson explained, "They are working a lot with California tourists to come one tank of gas away, to be able to come here to Mariposa, come to Yosemite National Park and go home on one tank of gas, whereas in other years we've had more tourists come from out of state or out of country."

Mirriam Platto says those in state visitors are helping her business thrive. She recently added a bar to her restaurant and plans to be open seven nights a week next summer instead of six.

"It was a wonderful summer, and I'm anticipating another," said Platto. "And actually the holidays were pretty good. We are indeed dependent on our tourism now, we just are."

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