Sonoma County Tourism - Funding & Budget

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Funding

Sonoma County Tourism’s funding comes from two sources: The Business Improvement Area assessment (BIA), and the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT). Please note that for every $1 that is applied from these funds towards SCT’s paid marketing, over $18 comes back to Sonoma County in tax revenue. That is an amazing return on investment. 

What is BIA?

The Business Improvement Area (BIA), is an assessment initiated by the lodging industry to generate tourism marketing funds. The majority of SCT’s funding comes from a 2% assessment on applicable lodging rooms within the Sonoma County Tourism Business Improvement Area (BIA) for any property with revenue greater than $350,000 a year.

The Business Improvement Area includes all parts of unincorporated Sonoma County (parts that are outside of city limits) and all municipalities with the exceptions of Healdsburg and Sonoma.

The BIA, by its legislative mandate, is designated exclusively for use as tourism marketing funds. Business Improvement Area (BIA) assessments are only paid by individuals staying at a BIA lodging property.

What is TOT?

As with the BIA, Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) is generated from individuals staying in our lodging properties. SCT receives 1.25% of the first 9% of transient occupancy tax (TOT) collected within the unincorporated areas of the County of Sonoma.

In 2019, the success of the tourism industry and SCT’s marketing efforts to drive overnight stays generated $48.7 million in TOT revenue. Sonoma County Tourism received about $2.3 million of this total (4.7%).

Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) is largely used for County government-driven services and programming. It is applied by our municipalities to fund programs such as public safety, economic development, parks, roads, infrastructure, affordable housing, health services, and education.

 
 

Impact

Tourism is a key economic driver in Sonoma County. In 2019:

  • Destination spending by travelers in Sonoma County was $2.23 billion.

  • The Sonoma County tourism industry employed 22,200 people (1 in 10 jobs).
  • Government revenue generated from tourism in Sonoma County was $203.5 million.

  • For every $1 spent on SCT’s consumer marketing, $166 was generated in visitor spending and $7 was returned in county tax revenue.

  • Sonoma County’s paid advertising directly influenced 3.7 million trips.

Without travel-generated tax revenues, each Sonoma County household would have to pay an average of $1,071 more in taxes each year to maintain the same level of public services.

To learn more about the positive economic impact of SCT’s marketing efforts, and the importance of the Sonoma County tourism economy, visit sonomacounty.com/power-of-tourism.

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