Tourism ‘Good summer’: Champlain Islands prepare for tourist season 4 weeks agoAdd Commentby bouzara At Ruthcliffe Lodge on La Motte Island, six lakefront rooms are booking up faster than owners Mark and Cathy Infante have seen in years. “There’s a lot of demand there,” said Mark, who has owned the bed and breakfast since 1985. Summer will be good. Infantes and others who work in the Lake Champlain tourism industry say they are expecting a busy summer season. This is due in no small part to the influx of visitors from Canada, who have largely been unable to cross the border over the past two summers. In autumn 2021, the border reopened to non-essential travel. According to the US Department of Transportation, U.S. passenger traffic through Vermont’s five major land-based ports has declined nearly 85% from 2019 to 2020 and about 45% from 2020 to 2021. The same data shows that cross-border ridership has increased significantly since then, with about 25,500 people crossing the Vermont border between January and April 2021, and more than 175,000 people making that trip in the first four months of 2022. At the Shore Acres Inn and Restaurant in North Hero, where Canadians have historically accounted for up to a third of annual business, the increase in cross-border traffic is welcome news, according to general manager Jason Hanney. “We’re starting to notice our rooms are getting booked, it’s a big time,” Hanni said. Andy Julow, chief executive of the Lake Champlain Islands Economic Development Corporation, said he heard the same story from many local businesses as he did last year: orders are plentiful but challenges remain in hiring enough staff. Mark Infante said Ruthcliffe Lodge has reduced the number of days a week it’s open from seven to five during the pandemic, allowing him to even handle some vacant positions, including a line cook who helps out in the kitchen. According to Infante, the hotel has more staff today than it has in the past few years. But he will still need to train some young workers to help in new roles. Infante said he does not expect to pay employees less than $15 an hour this summer, which he believes is competitive with other small businesses in the state. He and his wife have discussed raising staff pay, possibly up to $20 an hour, to match what Vail Resorts recently announced it would pay at its Vermont properties. But they are concerned that this will further increase costs for their customers. The Infantes have already raised the prices of their rooms, “probably as high as we can go right now,” Infante said. The minimum wage in Vermont is $12.55 an hour. man in wig throws cake at glass to protect Mona Lisa | entertainment news Thousands travel through Orlando International Airport for holiday weekend You may also like Tourism Emirates News Agency – SCCI showcases tourist... Tourism 5 Benefits of Health Tourism You Probably Didn’t... Tourism Tourism leaders Topeka, Hutchinson, Salina ready to... Tourism Croatian Minister of Tourism Nikolina Brnjak on the... Tourism Meteor shower on the menu: why the hills are... Tourism Roadmap for tourism About the author bouzara View all posts Leave a Comment XCommentName * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.