Sonoma County Tourism
Published: 

SCT, Kind Traveler launches sustainable initiative

SONOMA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA — Sonoma County Tourism (SCT) launches a two-year initiative with Kind Traveler, the first socially conscious “Give + Get” hotel booking and education platform that empowers travelers to make a positive community and environmental impact to the destinations they visit.

Creating a triple win: Travelers. Hotels. Charities.

Travelers will be able to access exclusive rates and special perks by booking directly with Kind Traveler (www.kindtraveler.com/destinations/sonoma) and its curated list of “Kind Hotels.” A $10-a-night donation will go to a designated local charity that positively impacts the visiting destination.

Charitable travel supports local causes

Participating hotels in Sonoma County will offer exclusive rates and special perks on Kind Traveler to empower travelers to support local causes. The lodging properties include Farmhouse Inn, Timber Cove Resort, Vintners Inn, Hyatt Regency Sonoma, Flamingo Conference Resort and Spa, The Sandman Hotel, and Hotel E.

Staying at these properties will support one of three Sonoma County-based charities that make a positive impact. The Redwood Empire Food Bank is Sonoma County’s largest hunger-relief organization, serving 82,000 people. The Russian Riverkeeper restores and sustains the health of Sonoma County’s popular Russian River. Sonoma Land Trust protects more than 50,000 acres of beautiful, productive, and environmentally significant land in and around Sonoma County.

The type of impact a $10 nightly donation will make is celebrated at the time of booking on Kind Traveler:

A $10 donation to Redwood Empire Food Bank will help provide 20 meals.
A $10 donation to Russian Riverkeeper will help clean 250 pounds of trash out of the Russian River
A $10 donation to Sonoma Land Trust will help maintain one mile of hiking trails

Sustainable Sonoma County

Sonoma County has long been a leader in the way of eco-consciousness, environmental protection, and sustainability. Author Jack London made Sonoma Valley his home later in life. He pioneered many of the principles that form the foundation of organic farming today. His ranch and home are protected as the Jack London (California) State Historic Park.

Famed horticulturist — and Sonoma County resident — Luther Burbank made it his life’s work to increase the world’s food supply by manipulating the characteristics of plants. He introduced more than 800 new plants, including the Shasta daisy, and more than 100 varieties of plums, prunes, and plumcots. In 1875, Burbank wrote, “I firmly believe, from what I have seen, that this is the chosen spot of all this earth as far as Nature is concerned.” The words still ring true today.

As wine is clearly central to any Sonoma County travel experience, the region is poised to become the nation’s first 100 percent certified sustainable wine region by the end of 2019. Sonoma County Winegrowers’ sustainability programhelps to preserve agriculture and multi-generational family farms.

Destination stewardship

SCT is dedicated to sustainable tourism and being socially responsible. In fact, the organization is transitioning from a “destination marketing organization” to a “destination stewardship organization,” in order to protect Sonoma County’s rich agricultural and natural landscape for generations to come. Along with that change, the organization is currently drafting a countywide stewardship and sustainability plan to help guide it and the local hospitality economy.

Relationships matter

The relationship between Sonoma County Tourism and Kind Traveler has tremendous potential for positive global impact. Last year alone, more than 1.2 billion trips were taken around the world.

“Sonoma County Tourism is delighted to be partnering with Kind Traveler,” said Claudia Vecchio, president/CEO, Sonoma County Tourism. “Kind Traveler presents an entirely new model for booking a lodging stay that matches perfectly with our programming designed to protect and preserve Sonoma County’s extraordinary natural resources and encourage responsible travel. The hotels listed on the website have already committed to integrating sustainable practices and the site offers those who book the opportunity to give back to local organizations engaged in destination stewardship.”

Nearly 75 percent of travelers polled in Tourism Cares and Phocuswright’s Good Travels research study (www.tourismcares.org/goodtravelsresearch) believe it’s important that their travel dollars benefit the communities they visit.

However, of those who want to travel sustainably, 35 percent reported finding it difficult and half don’t know how to go about booking such travel, according to Impact Travel Alliance’s 2018 Thought Leadership Study “Bringing Sustainable Tourism to the Masses.”

The new partnership between SCT and Kind Traveler creates a solution to make sustainable travel choices easy and transparent for everyday travelers.

“Because of the partnership with Sonoma County Tourism and their commitment to sustainable travel, travelers will have the opportunity to have a values-aligned vacation in Sonoma County and support hotels and charities that are committed to the wellbeing and sustainability of the destination,” said Jessica Blotter, CEO & co-founder of Kind Traveler.

For more information on how travelers can #TravelKindly to Sonoma County, visit www.kindtraveler.com. And choose some unique experiences to find out how #lifeopensup at SonomaCounty.com.

Research Resources:
Good Travels (www.tourismcares.org/goodtravelsresearch) by Tourism Cares & Phocuswright

Bringing Sustainable Tourism to the Masses (www.impacttravelalliance.org/thought-leadership-2018) by Impact Travel Alliance

# # #

Media Contacts:

Sonoma County Tourism    
Birgitt Vaughan
Director of Global Media Relations    
400 Aviation Blvd., Suite 500    
Santa Rosa, CA 95403    
707-522-5826    
[email protected]  

Kind Traveler
Daniela Petrides
[email protected]
Jared Rodriguez
[email protected]
Bellhop Public Relations 

EDITORS: To request high-resolution photos to go with your Sonoma County article, please fill out the request form, www.sonomacounty.com/media/media-photo-request

About Sonoma County Tourism 
Sonoma County Tourism is the destination marketing organization for Sonoma County. Tourism generates nearly $2.2 billion annually for the local economy, $193.8 million in government revenue, and supports more than 22,300 jobs.

More than 85 percent of all tourism businesses are locally owned, with around 77 percent having fewer than 25 employees. Hospitality jobs are varied in Sonoma County, with tour guides, restauranteurs, and brewery tasting room staff just as likely to interact with a visitor as a hotel front desk clerk. And this doesn't include the supporting businesses needed for the industry like commercial laundries, farmers, and all types of business services.

Currently, tourism in Sonoma County brings in $193.8 million in government revenue. Of that, $102.1 million were local taxes. Local tax money is used for regional parks, public safety, economic development, agricultural promotion, and arts and cultural festivals as well as general funds for cities and the county.

Tourism and hospitality has more "taxable moments" compared to other industries, with taxes collected for lodging, sales, rental cars, and airport charges.

Sonoma County Tourism offices are located at 400 Aviation Blvd., Ste. 500, Santa Rosa, Calif. 95403. For more information, call 707-522-5800 or 800-576-6662, or visit www.sonomacounty.com.

About Kind Traveler
Kind Traveler, a public benefit corporation (PBC), is the first socially conscious ‘Give + Get’ hotel booking and education platform that empowers travelers to make a positive community or environmental impact to the destinations they visit. As a social enterprise, travelers access exclusive rates and special perks to book directly with curated hotels upon a $10 nightly donation to a local charity that positively impacts the visiting destination, or to charity of choice on Kind Traveler. 100 percent of the donations raised on the Kind Traveler platform go directly to charities. As of 2019, Kind Traveler represents 100+ hotels and 60+ charities in 14 countries. www.KindTraveler.com