Sonoma County, September 25, 2020 – Sonoma County Tourism (SCT) held its Annual Meeting virtually on September 23, with an audience of over 175 tourism and hospitality professionals in attendance. Following a year of unprecedented events, SCT showcased the strategic strength of leading with a data-driven foundation plus economic impact and research surrounding the Public Safety Power Shutdown (PSPS) events, the Kincade fire, and COVID-19. Sonoma County’s Safety, Sustainability, and Recovery efforts are at the forefront of how the region will strategically promote the full Sonoma County experience.  

Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins and Californi­a State Senator Mike McGuire kicked off the morning event, outlining the importance of tourism and the hospitality industry in Sonoma County.

Amir Eylon, President & CEO of Longwoods International, a highly regarded destination research organization, presented findings of Sonoma County visitor demographics and the latest travel sentiments. In 2019 domestic visitors took 10.2 Million trips to Sonoma County, of which 47% were overnight stays – a 0.9% increase from 2018. The report shows total visitor spending for overnight increased 1.3% to $1.024 Billion, while day trip spending resulted in $413 Million. While 36% of the 2019 overnight visitors were visiting friends & relatives (U.S. Norm is 41%), only 16% stayed with them, with most staying in paid accommodations. Primary drivers of visitation to Sonoma County are leisure activities like touring and attending events. Almost half of Sonoma County visitors came from California (47%) with Los Angeles being the top market (17% vs. 12% in 2018), followed by the San Francisco Bay Area (13% vs. 21% in 2018) and Sacramento (8%). 75% were repeat visitors (51% having visited within the past 12 months).

In 2019, Sonoma County’s tourism industry generated almost $2.3 billion dollars in direct spending, which resulted in over $200 million in local and state tax revenue. In addition, the industry employs almost 23,000 local residents.

“Sonoma County Tourism continues to build on the Life Opens Up brand, which has become a mantra in 2020,” said Claudia Vecchio, president and CEO of SCT. “2020 started out very strong for Sonoma County, and then COVID-19 changed everything. Since March, we have had to completely reimagine everything we do. That said, we feel that Sonoma County is well positioned for a long-tail recovery given that our brand attributes align perfectly with what people are looking for when they travel.” 

“Sonoma County’s unique offerings of wide-open spaces, outdoor experiences, and ability to physically distance allows visitors the opportunity to enjoy many activities and experiences during their stay, including wineries, shopping, fine dining, historic sites, state parks, beaches, hiking, breweries and art,” said Steve Jung, chair of the Sonoma County Tourism board of directors and General Manager, Doubletree by Hilton Sonoma Wine Country.

“Consumer confidence about travel is slowly increasing, and while we began this fiscal year with a high level of uncertainty, we have built a solid plan to move the destination forward,” Vecchio explained.

A recording of the 2020 Sonoma County Tourism Virtual Annual Meeting is available at https://www.sonomacounty.com/partners/annual-meeting.

 

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About Sonoma County 
Sonoma County Tourism is the official destination stewardship organization for California’s Sonoma County. Tourism generates nearly $2.3 billion annually for the local economy resulting in $200 million in tax revenue and supports almost 23,000 jobs. 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

Birgitt Vaughan 
Director of Global Media Relations 
Sonoma County Tourism 
707-522-5826 
[email protected]

Anna Yan
Public Relations Manager
Sonoma County Tourism 
707-522-5818 
[email protected]