Tourism and hospitality are an integral part of the Sonoma County economy.
- The tourism industry is one of the largest, private employers in the county, with tourism employment comprising ten percent of the county total. (Source: Sonoma County Indicators, 2016, Abridged.)
- Government revenue in the form of taxes from tourism is more than $177 million per year.
- This revenue is used for things like parks, economic development, cultural and historical festivals and events, affordable housing and other uses.
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.
TOT Assessment by City
Sonoma County - 12 percent
Cloverdale - 10 percent
Healdsburg - 12 percent
Petaluma - 10 percent
Rohnert Park - 12 percent
Santa Rosa - 9 percent
Sebastopol - 10 percent
Sonoma - 10 percent
Windsor - 12 percent
- Millions of visitors come to Sonoma County annually, and overnight visitors spend $389 per day, less than half of which is typically spent on lodging.
- Roughly 90 percent of Sonoma County's visitors are domestic travelers.
- The 10 percent of international visitors to Sonoma County mainly hail from Canada, Western Europe, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Korea.
Nine out of ten Sonoma County visitors consider scenic beauty to be an “Important” or “Extremely important” factor to choosing a trip to Sonoma County. Relaxation (88%) and Sonoma County’s dining scene (85%) were also attributes that were strong factors in motivating a visit. Other motivators were spending time with a significant other (82%), visiting a winery (81%), outdoor recreation (50%), arts & culture (46%) and activities for kids (5%.) Data source: Sonoma County Visitor Intercept Survey.
In Sonoma County (2017):
- Annual tourism spending is $2.1 billion
- Total taxes (government revenue) collected: $177.7 million
- Tourism industry employment: 22,690 jobs
Information from Visit California / Dean Runyan and Associates "California Travel Impacts by County"
Tourism Business Statistics
- 82 percent of Sonoma County tourism businesses are small (fewer than 25 employees)
- 91 percent of tourism businesses are locally owned, only eight percent of these are franchises
- 39 percent have been in business for more than 20 years, 40 percent have been in business for 10 or fewer years
You can meet some of the "Faces of Sonoma County Tourism" and read their stories: Faces of Tourism.
- Sonoma County Tourism Indicators: Occupancy and Average Daily Rate 2011-2017 (PDF - 350K)
- County of Sonoma Economic Development Board
- Industry Development: New and Expanded Lodging Plans
- EDB Annual Tourism Report
- Tourism and Restaurant Industries Reports (From County of Sonoma EDB)
- California Travel and Tourism Commission Research from Visit California includes build your own reports.
- Travel Industry Association of America
- Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport Passenger Numbers
Want to learn more? Destination Analysts is a research firm that publishes "The State of the American Traveler," an excellent snapshot of domestic travelers.