SONOMA COUNTY, CA (May 13, 2022) – Sonoma County Tourism, in collaboration with the U.S. Travel Association and tourism and hospitality partners across the country, will recognize May 1 – 7, 2022 as National Travel and Tourism Week.  Heralding the theme of the 2022 celebration, The Future of Travel, SCT will coordinate a host of activities and opportunities for residents and travelers all designed to move the industry forward in a robust way.  

Within the global tourism industry hard hit by the pandemic, Sonoma County was able to move into recovery more quickly than some urban, convention-reliant destinations.  The 2020-2021 economic impact study commissioned by Visit California and conducted by Dean Runyan Associates shows Sonoma County’s initial recovery provides a foundation for long-term optimism. The 2021 Sonoma County Economic Impact report may be accessed here

“With overall revenues down almost 50 percent year-over year from 2019-2020, Sonoma County rebounded quite well during 2021,” reports Edward Roe, Chair, Sonoma County Tourism Board of Directors and General Manager, Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa. “Overall destination spending went from $2.23 Billion in 2019 to $1.25 Billion in 2020.  In 2021, we are pleased to see an almost pre-pandemic spending level of $1.97 Billion.  We’re forecasting a meetings and group business rebound by years’ end and resulting an even stronger recovery into 2023.” 

To mark National Travel and Tourism Week, Sonoma County Tourism will be hosting a series of celebratory events and initiatives: 

Stars of the Industry Awards 2022

Sonoma County Tourism will celebrate the best and brightest in Sonoma County’s tourism and hospitality industry at the 2022 Stars of the Industry Awards on Tuesday, May 3 at 5 p.m. at the Flamingo Resort & Spa. The event is designed to recognize employees in the hospitality industry who, while often are a visitor’s most impactful impression of the destination, often go unrecognized.  Through public nominations and judging by peers in the industry, award winners (both individuals and organizations) will be announced in eight categories:

 Front of the House

  • Heart of the House
  • Ally of the Industry
  • Innovation Award
  • Lodging Property of the Year
  • Rising Star
  • Customer Engagement
  • Environmental Sustainability and Stewardship 

Special awards will be presented to “The Count” George Webber for his legacy of delighting guests at Buena Vista Winery and Kirk Lok, a hotelier in Petaluma and Sebastopol for advancing the Accredited Hospitality Professional (AHP) program.  

During the event, Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore will present the industry with a Gold Resolution recognizing May as Travel and Tourism Month in Sonoma County. 

Interested parties can view the finalists at the Sonoma County Stars of the Industry Awards webpage

Local Businesses to Shine Pinot Purple

For the third consecutive year, local businesses will be casting their properties in purple light (the official color of hospitality) during as a sign of unity and determination as the industry celebrates an influx of travelers returning to the roads and skies. Photos of participating businesses will be posted to Sonoma County Tourism’s Instagram page.  Images of last year’s participants are available here

Live Like a Visitor 

Throughout the duration of National Travel and Tourism Week, SCT is inviting residents to experience Sonoma County with some of the excitement and fun of a visitor. Through a brand new Sonoma County trip planning mobile application, residents participating in the promotion can easily learn about compelling businesses, attractions and seasonal activities, and build trip itineraries that make it easy to customize a visit to Sonoma County. All Live Like a Resident contestants who visit participating locations will receive a special code and are encouraged to enter the code into the app to showcase their visits. All participants who utilize the app will receive a prize from Sonoma County Tourism and be entered to win a fabulous Sonoma County staycation.  

Sonoma County Tourism Cares Volunteer Event

A highlight of the week occurs on Friday, May 6 when the tourism industry gives back to the community through a Tourism Cares volunteer event at the Redwood Empire Food Bank. On Friday, May 6 from 7am-9am, the team will be packaging fresh produce, assembling grocery boxes and sorting donated pantry items for distribution to vulnerable children, seniors, and adults in Sonoma County. SCT invites the tourism community to participate in this important event.  Interested persons can register here

Also during the week, Sonoma County Tourism will reaffirm its commitment to the future of the county’s vital viticultural and agricultural communities.   

On May 5-6, SCT celebrates the region’s storied viticulture community as a supporting sponsor of the 2022 Barrel Auction. Working shoulder-to-shoulder with the Sonoma County Vintners in several upcoming events, SCT solidifies its commitment to the future of wine tourism and the potential that comes through great business partnerships.     

“We are delighted to have Sonoma County Tourism as a sponsor for the Barrel Auction, April Wine Month and the upcoming Taste of Sonoma event,” says Michael Haney, Executive Director, Sonoma County Vintners. “The region’s wine industry is always a key driver for visitors and the collective partnership is an important one for enhancing the future of tourism in the area.” 

On May 7, the California Artisan Cheese Festival returns to Sonoma County with a day designed to promote the artisan cheesemaking community and enjoy the bounty of these products in the region. As a Benefactor Sponsor, Sonoma County Tourism is helping raise awareness of local cheesemakers and the richness of this experience for visitors.  

National Travel and Tourism Week is a critical milestone for our industry in 2022 as we see travel start to return to pre-pandemic levels,” said Claudia Vecchio, president/CEO of Sonoma County Tourism. “This week is set aside for us to recognize the stars of our industry who helped Sonoma County power through the last two years, shine a light on the industry today and build a more resilient, sustainable destination for the future.” 

# # # 

Dean Runyan Associates, The Economic Impact of Travel in California, 2021.

Helpful links:
Power of Tourism webpage:
U.S. Travel Association:
Visit California:

 About Sonoma County  

Sonoma County Tourism is the region’s official Destination Stewardship Organization. Through a multi-channel sales and marketing program, the organization promotes Sonoma County as a global visitor and meetings destination, where diversity thrives, and everyone is welcome. Leveraging the region’s unmatched assets, wine, culinary, wellness and sustainability continue to define its character. As the industry recovers, SCT will work with partner businesses to rebuild the tourism economy, regain critical revenue and re-establish a vibrant workforce. For more information, visit 

Sonoma County Tourism Media Contacts 

Birgitt Vaughan  
Director of Public Relations
[email protected]  

High-resolution photos for Intentional Itineraries can be found at

High-resolution photos can be found at
Password: SoCoLifeOpensUp  

Follow us on social: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn