Tomahawk leaders look to attract winter tourism despite little - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Tomahawk leaders look to attract winter tourism despite little snow

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TOMAHAWK (WAOW) -

The unusual weather this winter has affected many communities in Wisconsin. That has one city figuring out how to attract tourists, even if there isn't snow.

There are fewer cars than usual heading into Tomahawk. Tourism officials say thousands of visitors usually vacation here during a good winter. But because Mother Nature isn't cooperating, city leaders are looking elsewhere.

"We've been seeing a trend," Tomahawk Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tamra Anderson said.

That's why the Chamber of Commerce wanted to hold a meeting to brainstorm. City leaders and business owners were in attendance. James Charles was one of them.

"Our business is really related to the weather," Tomahawk BP Manager James Charles told Newsline 9.

Charles says fuel sales are down 10 percent, while merchandise inside the store is down 15 percent. Charles says he blames that on little snow.

"We need snow. No snow, no traffic. No traffic, no business," Charles added.

Snowmobile trails are open in the Northwoods. But Tomahawk city leaders say the meeting wasn't about only planning for this year, but instead looking ahead to the future.

"For 2014, 2015, what can we do as a community to make sure people are still coming if people aren't snowmobiling, if ice fishing isn't the best, what can we do?" Anderson said.

It may start with something called "alternative tourism". City officials are looking at holding more sports tournaments. Another suggestion was attracting travelers from Highway 51.

"How can we move along into the future and how the business can work together and what resources are available to our businesses and out community," Anderson said.

Tourism leaders say a task force could be in the works. As long as the weather doesn't cooperate, they say they'll be searching for alternatives.

Tomahawk officials say they found the meeting a success, but that it was the first of many they hope to hold, in order to bring some of their ideas to life.

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