FORKS – Amazing what rumors of having vampires in town will do for the local economy.
The draw of the “Twilight” series of novels about undead teenage heartthrobs that live in Forks delivered a 48 percent increase in lodging tax revenue so far this year for the Olympic Peninsula city.
For the first nine months of the year, tourism generally did well in the region, officials told the Peninsula Daily News, owing to people taking vacations closer to home because of high gasoline prices.
Port Angeles made the most in lodging tax revenues among North Peninsula communities — $337,598, a 2.7 percent increase over last year.
Sequim saw a percentage increase in lodging tax revenues second only to Forks, collecting $115,962, up 15.7 percent over last year, said Vickie Maples of the Sequim Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce.
The amount of lodging tax revenue collected in Forks was the smallest of any entity on the peninsula at $85,159, but local officials were delighted.
“We had a wonderful summer thanks to the books by Stephenie Meyer,” said Marcia Bingham of the Forks Chamber of Commerce. “We have blown up with ‘Twilight’ visitors.” It has been a wonderful year for us.”
Bingham said tourists have been coming not only during the summer, but during Forks’ long wet season. “People come for the books, and if it’s raining, they are happy. We all know vampires can’t be out if it’s bright.”