Sonoma Valley Tourism Statistics

Let's look at the numbers...

Tourism and hospitality are an integral part of the local Sonoma economy, and tourism has been a key part of the local economy for over 150 years

  • One in six jobs in Sonoma Valley is supported by the hospitality industry. (Source: Tourism Economics, The Economic Impact of Tourism in Sonoma Valley, 2018)
  • 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.)
  • In the County, 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.
  • In the City of Sonoma, more than 50% of the city's general fund revenue comes from direct tourism taxes in the form of hotel tax (transient occupancy tax) and sales tax. Additional city tax revenue comes from business and property taxes paid by tourism businesses. (Source: City of Sonoma, FY 17-18 Adopted Budget.)
  • The General Fund supports most City services such as police, fire, roads, parks, public works, community activities and administration. (Source: City of Sonoma, FY 17-18 Adopted Budget.)

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.

Visitor Statistics

  • 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 Valley (2018, Tourism Economics):

  • 3,022 jobs are sustained by tourism in Sonoma Valley, this is about one in seven jobs
  • An estimated 23% of tourism jobs are in the food and beverage sector, 20% are in accommodations, 14% are in retail and 11% are in recreation.
  • Total taxes (government revenue) collected: $60 million
  • Visitors spent $377 million in Sonoma Valley in 2017, which generated $490 million in total business sales including direct and induced impacts.

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

  • The majority of tourism businesses in Sonoma are small and locally-owned
  • The hospitality industry is considered a "launching pad" for new entrants in the workforce (immigrants, students and younger workers) as well as a "landing zone" for those exiting the work-force (retirees or those scaling back their work). Source: The Effects of Travel and Tourism on California's Economy, RAND Labor and Population, 2017.

For more information about the tourism economy, please refer to:



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