History of Sonoma County Tourism
History and Formation of Sonoma County Tourism
With an annual economic impact of more than $2.1 billion, the tourism industry in Sonoma County has emerged as a vital component in sustaining the local economy.
In recognition of its importance, a public/private collaborative process was initiated to develop a structure to support and increase the vitality of this industry sector. From this collaborative process, Sonoma County Tourism was created as the destination marketing organization for Sonoma County.
In March 2001, leaders in the tourism industry and the public sector began to formulate ideas and investigate ways of creating a funding structure to support a comprehensive tourism marketing program. In these discussions, the idea of creating a special county-wide tourism business improvement area emerged.
The Sonoma County Lodging Association (SCLA) became the lead organization advocating the development of a new business improvement area. In 2004, SCLA promoted the development of the business improvement area to its members, community leaders, public officials and tourism-related organizations. In November 2004, SCLA saw their vision become reality when the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors established the Sonoma County Tourism Business Improvement Area (SCTBIA).
Soon after the establishment of the SCTBIA, the organizational framework for the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau (SCTB) was developed, including articles of incorporation and by-laws. In addition, the five-member SCTBIA Advisory Board was appointed to act as liaison between the Board of Supervisors and the new SCTB.
On Jan. 1, 2005, a new era in funding Sonoma County tourism marketing began as the SCTBIA went into effect. The development of the new Sonoma County Tourism Bureau took a significant step forward in February 2005 as the 22-member board of directors was appointed and had its inaugural meeting.
In June 2005, the Board of Supervisors ratified a contract with SCTB to market Sonoma County and promote overnight visitors. On July 1, 2005, the SCTB officially became the destination marketing organization for Sonoma County.
In August 2012, as part of a branding initiative with Sonoma County Vintners and Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, SCTB started using Sonoma County Tourism (SCT) as its public persona.
In 2018, SCT underwent a comprehensive brand research initiative and developed the new Life Opens up brand and marketing campaign.