Sonoma County Tourism
Published: 

National Travel and Tourism Week heralds the power of travel

SONOMA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA — Sonoma County Tourism joins the U.S. Travel Association and Visit California in showcasing the value of tourism during National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW, May 5-11), by announcing the release of positive economic impact numbers, the first-ever Sonoma County Tourism Builds Our Community special print section, a new Power of Tourism webpage, and a Tourism Cares volunteer event. 

“Sonoma County Tourism applauds the tireless work done by the more than 22,000 hospitality industry employees during this week, and throughout the year,” said Claudia Vecchio, president/CEO of Sonoma County Tourism. 

“Tourism builds a vibrant ecosystem in Sonoma County with sales, employment, wages, and taxes that’s essential to the region’s economy,” she added. “Tourism supports more than hospitality businesses. Revenues generated from travel-related activities support critical services including education, public safety, the arts and our parks system. No other industry has such a meaningful return-on-investment.”  

Along with the national weeklong celebration, Visit California has announced May as Travel and Tourism month, highlighting the hospitality industry as an important economic driver for the state and local communities. 

Tourism by the numbers

“In the 18 months following the 2017 wildfires, tourism in Sonoma County experienced a time unlike any in our history,” Vecchio explained. “Traditional performance metrics, such as the STR report of lodging rates and occupancy, were monitored but did not convey the full picture of the challenges faced by the tourism industry during this rebuilding time period. While area lodging properties were full, many of the occupants were those displaced by homes destroyed or were employed by construction/rebuilding companies. This makes any economic impact numbers for 2018 outside the normal reporting environment.” 

Each year, Sonoma County Tourism commissions the countywide economic impact report provided through Visit California’s partnership with Dean Runyan Associates. The 2018 report shows spending by visitors in Sonoma County increased 4.4% to nearly $2.2 billion from 2017 to 2018. The report also shows a 6.7% increase, or $194.8 million, in total government revenues (state and local) in the form of various taxes. Of that, visitors generated $102.1 million for Sonoma County to fund local services.  

Without tourism, each Sonoma County household would have to pay an additional $890 in taxes each year to receive the same level of services. 

“While we are pleased that tourism continues to drive strong economic activity, we know the industry has worked harder during the past 18 months than ever before,” said Joe Bartolomei, chair of Sonoma County Tourism board of directors. “Tourism is an integral part of all our communities and we’re working to ensure our businesses and employees have the support needed to succeed.” 

A special newspaper insert shares with resident stakeholders how tourism builds community. The insert ran in the May 5 Sunday Press Democrat. It also will be in the May 9 issue of the Petaluma Argus Courier and in the Sonoma Index-Tribune on May 10. 

Tourism Cares 

Volunteers from the hospitality and tourism community will be out in force on Thursday, May 9. This event will highlight how “Tourism Cares” while getting Spring Lake Regional Park ready for the busy summer season. This is the third consecutive year that volunteerism has been part of Sonoma County’s National Travel and Tourism Week celebration.  

“Tourism Cares, Sonoma County Tourism’s volunteer program, was launched in May 2017 as part of National Travel and Tourism Week,” said Nicole Bradin, director of community engagement for Sonoma County Tourism. “Since its inception, 240 volunteers have worked 760 hours at more than 15 events. 

“Our tourism and hospitality industry does much more than provide hotel space, restaurant meals, outdoor activities and entertainment, wine tasting, and gorgeous views — we care about our local community,” Bradin added. 

Our Sonoma County 

“Visitors from all over the world travel to Sonoma County and share their experiences on social media,” Bradin said. “This year, we’re giving our residents a chance to show their local pride. Post a photo of your favorite Sonoma County experience to share with our visitors, expressing what 'Life Opens Up' (Sonoma County Tourism’s brand) means to you. Tag #OurSonomaCounty on Instagram or Twitter and enter to win a Sonoma County staycation package.” 

The winning package for two people includes a two-night stay at The Geyserville Inn, horseback riding at Ranch at Lake Sonoma, a Harvest Card VIP wine tasting pass, and a restaurant gift card. Information about the contest, which runs now through June 18, can be found at www.sonomacounty.com/our-sonoma-county. 

Helpful links: 

U.S. Travel Association: www.ustravel.org 

Visit California: www.visitcalifornia.com 

Tourism Builds Our Community (special print section): www.sonomacounty.com/sites/default/files/2019-05/NTTW_2019_full_low-res.pdf

Power of Tourism webpage: www.sonomacounty.com/power-of-tourism  

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Sonoma County Tourism is the official destination marketing organization for California's Sonoma County. SCT is a private, non-profit marketing and sales organization dedicated to sustaining the hospitality economy in Sonoma County, California.

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.

Media Contact
Tina Luster
Communications Manager
Sonoma County Tourism
707-522-5818
[email protected]