Sonoma, Napa tourism districts reap returns

The Sonoma County Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) achieved a return on its investment of $85 for every dollar spent for tourism promotion in 2010. This was higher than the statewide ROI average of $63 for each marketing dollar spent in other TBID’s responding to a statewide survey. Napa Valley’s Tourism Improvement District reported an ROI of $63.80 for every promotional dollar spent, also exceeding the state average.

These findings were part of a new study conducted by Patrick Tierney, Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism at San Francisco State University (SFSU), and funded by the California Travel Association (CTA). This survey offers the first statewide assessment of economic impact from TBIDs, also know as Tourism Marketing Districts (TMD).

 “We have wanted to determine the net effect and the ROI from TMDs in California since the inception of this program 17 years ago,” said John Severini, president of the California Travel Association. “Our goal is to conduct a similar study every five years.”

 Before initiating the survey, the CTA brought in representatives from each district and asked them what information they believed should be collected, and what questions should be asked.

 wenty of the 63 Tourism Marketing Districts in 28 California counties responded by supplying data included in the initial report covering local and statewide results for 2010. These findings were released in May 2012.

 According to Mr. Severini, these data are revealing and help establish a solid basis for evaluating the effectiveness of TBIDs when it comes to creating jobs, stimulating tourism spending, growing the local economy and increasing tax revenue.

 For example, Sonoma County collected an estimated $2.5 million in total TBID funds in 2010, and of this amount, $1.8 million was allocated for promotional spending, or 72.6 percent.

The estimate for all funds collected by TBIDs in California was $125 million of which $78 million was spent for promotions, or 62.2 percent.

Direct destination spending generated by promotions in Sonoma County totaled $209 million in 2010, providing an ROI of $84.60 for each promotion dollar spent. Combining direct, indirect and induced spending (for other goods and services while touring the county) the figure was $468 million.

From an economic impact perspective, personal income for workers produced by TBID activity in Sonoma totaled $66 million. County marketing promotions created 1,918 jobs and resulted in $4.6 million in local tax revenue, according to the report.

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