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Research & Reports: Tourism in Sonoma County

Tourism and hospitality are an integral part of the economy for the United States, California, and Sonoma County. 

Download the 2020 Sonoma County Quick Facts

 

Monthly Tourism Destination Data Dashboard for Sonoma County
provided by Tourism Economics. Sources: STR, AirDNA and STS Sonoma County Airport.

    Visitor Statistics (2020-2021)

    • 8.4 million visitors came to Sonoma County in 2020 (an overall decline of -18.3% versus 2019). Of these, 57% ( 4.8 million) are day visitors and 43% (3.6 million) are overnight visitors (source: Longwoods)
    • In 2021, Sonoma County experienced a marked recovery in visitor spending. Visitors spent $1.97 billion in Sonoma County in 2021, an increase of 58% over 2020, 88% of visitor spending in 2019 (source: Dean Runyan Associates 2021)
    • Tourism and hospitality have always been important industries for Sonoma County’s workforce. 2021 saw a gain of 8.3% in travel industry jobs. Hospitality industry employment in 2021 was 17,640 (9% of the overall workforce), and recovered to 79% of 2019 employment levels. (source: Dean Runyan Associates)

    states-chartseasons-chartspend-chart

    Travel Impacts for Sonoma County (2021):

    State and local government revenue generated by the local Sonoma County tourism industry ($198 million in 2021) is used to help support regional parks, economic development, arts and culture, education, roads, public safety, education, affordable housing and workforce development among other community programs.  (source: Visit California / Dean Runyan and Associates.

    View data for Sonoma County:  "California Travel Impacts by County - Sonoma" 

    View data for Sonoma County: Dean Runyan Economic Impact of Tourism Report for calendar year 2021

    Travel Impacts for the State of California (2021):

    Information from Visit California / Dean Runyan and Associates.
    View full report: "California Travel Impacts " for 2021.

    • In 2021, the California travel economy was still recovering after the fall from the peak year of 2019. Strong demand for overnight accommodations and increased commodity prices led to large gains in visitor spending. 
    • Direct travel-related spending in California grew to $100.2 billion in 2021 a 46.3 percent increase from the previous year. Compared to the peak of 2019, travel spending was down 30.9 percent in 2021.
    • The travel industry supported approximately 927 thousand jobs in 2021, a 6.4 percent increase from the prior year. Compared to 2019, travel industry employment is down 21.2 percent.
    • Travel-generated tax revenue increased to $15.0 billion in 2021, an increase of 23.1% from the prior year. Compared to 2019, travel-generated tax revenue is down 25.4 percent.
    • Visitor air travel on domestic flights to California destinations increased by 57% in 2021, from 14.1 million to 22.1 million arrivals.
    • Visitors who stayed in a Hotel, Motel, or STVR spent $52.4 billion in 2021, an increase of 44.0%. Visitors who stayed in a Private Home with friends and relatives spent $17.0 billion in 2021, an increase of 136.1%.

    TOT Assessment by City in Sonoma County

    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.

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

    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

     

    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.