SONOMA COUNTY, CA, May 3, 2021 — Sonoma County Tourism believes the road to post-pandemic economic recovery starts with travel. That’s why the organization is collaborating with travel stakeholders to spotlight the “Power of Travel” during the National Travel and Tourism Week (May 2 through May 8). During this annual celebration, communities around the world will honor the value travel provides for the economy, businesses, and personal well-being.  

“National Travel and Tourism Week is an important milestone for our industry especially in 2021,” said Claudia Vecchio, president/CEO of Sonoma County Tourism. “Throughout the past year, we learned that to persevere during the pandemic, we had to rely on our resilient communities, creative business leaders and the overall strength of the Sonoma County tourism industry. As travel resumes, we reflect with gratitude on all who helped Sonoma County power forward.”  

Tourism by the Numbers

Each year, Sonoma County Tourism commissions a countywide economic impact report provided through Visit California’s partnership with Dean Runyan Associates. The 2020 report shows the pandemics negative impact on visitor spending, decreasing 49 percent from 2019 to 2020, a nearly $1.13 billion loss. Other takeaways from the report include: 

  • 45 percent, or $112 million, decrease in total government revenues (state and local) in the form of various taxes. 
  • Visitors generated $63 million for Sonoma County to fund local services.
  • 2020 included a 38 percent decrease from the previous year’s overnight visitors (person-trips). Total visitor days were down an equivalent amount with a total of 2.2 million. 
  • Average visitor spending per day and average length of stay was comparable to 2019 despite overnight visitor spending being down.
  • The tourism industry is one of the largest employers in Sonoma County, with hospitality employment comprising one in 10 jobs (16,264 jobs) in 2020.

 “The travel industry provides more than hotel space, wine tasting, and outdoor activities,” said Steve Jung, Chair of the Sonoma County Tourism board of directors. “Tourism creates jobs, drives the local economy, and enhances the quality of life for our residents. It helps support local government programs, including education, the arts and regional parks. The value of tourism has never been clearer, and we are confident Sonoma County will make a steady and full recovery.” 

To help celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week, Sonoma County Tourism will be hosting a series of events:

Resiliency Showcase

One community that suffered severely during the fallout of the pandemic is the arts. The Resiliency Showcase features stories from local artists and small business owners like winemakers, photographers, chefs, wellness instructors and others. Each of them rediscuss how they survived during challenging times and how they are intertwined and support each other. 

Students Commemorating the Power of Travel

Sonoma County Tourism invited local students to submit poetry, painting, digital drawings and coloring pages to showcase travel in their backyard. View local students’ art here. 

Shine Pinot Purple

In a show of unity and determination as the industry recovers, destinations across the country have been lighting their buildings and landmarks in the official color of the hospitality industry: purple. More than 20 local businesses have arranged to “Shine Pinot Purple” for National Travel and Tourism Week, including: Flamingo Resort, Hotel E, Paradise Ridge Winery and more . A full listing is available here.

Helpful links:
Power of Tourism webpage: www.sonomacounty.com/power-of-tourism
U.S. Travel Association: www.ustravel.org
Visit California: www.visitcalifornia.com

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Sonoma County Tourism is the official destination stewardship organization dedicated to creating and supporting a sustainable hospitality economy in Sonoma County, California. This is done through marketing, promotions and sales of the region for leisure travel, trade, meetings and groups, as well as the Travel Kindly Pledge. The Sonoma County hospitality and tourism industry makes up 10 percent of jobs in communities largely composed of small businesses. Down-to-earth charm is found within the destination’s diverse offerings, including family-owned wineries, redwood forests, the Pacific coastline, and an assortment of well-being experiences. For more information, visit www.sonomacounty.com