Santa Rosa Square

Research & Reports: Tourism in Sonoma County

Tourism and hospitality are an integral part of the economy for the United States, California, and Sonoma County. (Information reflects 2018 results.)

  • Destination spending by travelers

    • United States:         $1.1 trillion
    • California:               $140.6 billion
    • Sonoma County:   $2.175 billion

  • Government revenue in the form of taxes from tourism
    (Used for parks, economic development, arts and culture, education, roads, public safety, education, affordable housing, workforce development, and more.)

    • United States:         $170 billion
    • California:               $11.8 billion
    • Sonoma County:   $194.8 million 
  • Tourism/Hospitality directly supports jobs

    • United States:         8.9 million
    • California:               1.2 million
    • Sonoma County:   22,330 (1 in 10 jobs)

The Sonoma County Economic Development Board produces an excellent report on Transient Occupancy Tax, including where each government entity invests that money: Sonoma County TOT Reports.

TOT Assessment by City

  • Cloverdale – 10 percent
  • Healdsburg – 12 percent
  • Petaluma – 10 percent
  • Rohnert Park – 12 percent
  • Santa Rosa – 9 percent
  • Sebastopol – 10 percent
  • Sonoma – 10 percent
  • Windsor – 12 percent
  • Unincorporated County – 12 percent

Visitor Statistics

  • Millions of visitors come to Sonoma County annually. Over the next few years, millennial tourists, who prioritize experiential travel, will grow in importance.
  • Roughly 90 percent of Sonoma County's visitors are domestic travelers.
  • The 10 percent of international visitors to Sonoma County mainly hail from Canada, Western Europe, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Korea.

In Sonoma County (2018):

In 2018, total direct travel spending contributed $2.175 billion to the Sonoma County economy, up 4% year-over-year.    

  • Destination Spending = $2 billion
  • Other travel = $175 million (Other Travel includes ground transportation and air travel impact and other travel arrangement services.  

Visitor Spending by Type of Travel Accommodation totaled $1.999 billion, up 3% year-over-year. Spending by property type ($millions)

  • Hotel, Motel                 $1,098.2 (+3% YOY)
  • Private Home               $176.3 (+6 % YOY)
  • Campground                 $61.3 (+4% YOY)
  • Vacation Home            $108.8 (+4% YOY) 

Visitor Spending by Commodity Purchased ($Millions)

  • Accommodations        $504.3 (+6% YOY)
  • Food Service                 $558.4 (+3% YOY)
  • Local Transportation   $32.1 (+25% YOY) (including gas)
  • Arts, Entertain, Rec.    $351.4 (+.08% YOY) (including wineries, parks)
  • Visitor Air Transport    $12.5 (+12% YOY)

Day trips visitor spending $554.9 million (+1.7% YOY) 

Travel Industry Employment: 22,330 (down 180 jobs YOY) 

Information from Visit California / Dean Runyan and Associates "California Travel Impacts by County"

Tourism Business Statistics (2018)*

  • 77 percent of Sonoma County tourism businesses are small (fewer than 25 employees) 
  • 85 percent of tourism businesses are locally owned, only two percent of these are franchises
  • 43 percent have been in business for more than 20 years, 35 percent have been in business for 10 or fewer years

*Sonoma County Economic Development Board’s Annual Tourism Report

You can meet some of the "Faces of Sonoma County Tourism" and read their stories: Faces of Tourism.

MORE INFORMATION

Want to learn more? Destination Analysts is a research firm that publishes "The State of the American Traveler," an excellent snapshot of domestic travelers.