There are two things that can be said for sure about Winter Carnival. It draws Yoopers and Michigan Tech families and alumni to town. Does it bring in visitors without that bond to the Copper Country, though? It’s an issue that still needs to be looked at, says Brad Barnett.
The executive director of the Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau says the national profile of Carnival is certainly growing in recent years.
Additionally, the event has gotten coverage from media sources that would obviously be interested in one of the snowiest climates in America, places like The Weather Channel for instance.
Barnett says the biggest economic boon from Carnival occurs between the Houghton/Hancock area and Calumet, where occupancy rates at hotels soar towards 100 percent. Short-term rentals are also snatched up at a pace more reminiscent of summertime than February. That demand means a roughly $50 increase per room per night. Many area hotels require deposits for reservations, and some will start accepting bookings for the 2023 edition today. There is also a requirement for a minimum length stay, typically three nights.
Area restaurants and bars are another big winner, followed by recreational endeavors.