Sonoma Co. tourism spending rises 9 percent

Spending by visitors in Sonoma County increased 9 percent from 2009 to 2010, according the latest data released Wednesday by the California Travel and Tourism Commission.

In the same period, the share of California destination dollars spent in Sonoma County grew by more than 2 percent, suggesting the county is capturing more of the state's total travel dollars.

Total visitor spending in Sonoma County for 2010 was $1.36 billion. Total taxes collected from visitors was $87.3 million, an increase of more than 9 percent from $80 million in 2009, according to the commission.The industry employs 16,540.

The county has more than 7 million visitors annually, according to the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau. Overnight visitors spend $292 a day, less than half of which is spent on lodging.

Tourism in Sonoma County is a $1.3 billion industry and is comprised mostly of smaller, locally-owned businesses, according to the tourism bureau.

More than 80 percent of tourism businesses in Sonoma County employ fewer than 50, and 76 percent have fewer than 25 employees, according to the Sonoma County Economic Development Board. Almost 90 percent of these businesses are locally owned.


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