Sonoma, Marin hotel occupancy rates increase

Hotel occupancy rates in Sonoma County increased by 5.1 percent over the year in May, reaching 78.6 percent in 2014 compared with 77.3 percent in 2013, according to figures from Smith Travel Research.

At the same time, the average daily rate increased over the year by 8.8 percent, reaching $140.95 in 2014 compared to $132.07 in 2013, according to the company.

Sonoma County’s occupancy rates have increased to an annual average of 74 percent at the end of 2013.

Revenue per available room increased over the year by 8.5 percent, reaching $110.83 through May 2014 compared to $102.12 in May 2013.

In addition to seeing improved metrics over the year, a majority of the hospitality industry believes the economy has recovered, according to Sonoma County Tourism, the county’s official tourism booster.

According to the 2013 Annual Tourism Survey of more than 300 tourism-related businesses in Sonoma County, 87 percent of businesses are “optimistic” or “somewhat optimistic” about their prospects in 2014.

Tourism adds more than $97.3 million to government coffers in the form of taxes collected from visitors, according to the survey conducted by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board.

Tourism is one of the largest industries in Sonoma County, employing nearly 18,000 people and resulting in more than $1.55 billion in spending, according to Visit California.

“In addition to the economic impact, tourism provides a better quality of life for Sonoma County residents,” said Ken Fischang, president and CEO of Sonoma County Tourism. “Visitors come in and spend money at our local businesses. The businesses pay their employees, who buy goods and services with that money. Taxes generated from visitor spending fund educations, roads, and other essentials.”

Tourism is also a significant source of tax revenue for local governments, with visitor-generated tax revenue currently making up more than 22 percent of total local tax receipts, according to the EDB.***Other local tourism figures

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