Napa Valley’s attraction to visitors continues to climb, reaching 3.85 million last year, as detailed in a report released Friday by the county's official tourism booster.
The number of visitors increased 4.4% each year since 2016, the last time Visit Napa Valley reported statistics.
Spending by tourists reached $2.23 billion, a 15.9% increase over 2016, the report concluded. Visitors spent just under two days per visit on average, dropping about $247 day, or $405 per person per day, for lodging guests.
Pretrip websites were the primary source of planning by visitors as far. As for what influenced to make the trip, “opinions of friends/relatives directly or through social media” were primary.
And then they arrived, what visitors most enjoyed were wine, scenery, atmosphere and the weather. Asked what would enhance their experience, about a third reported “nothing,” though others said better transportation and affordability.
Nonetheless, about 88% said they would be “very likely” or “likely” to return to the Napa Valley.
Much of the data released revealed how much tourism in wine country contributes to the area’s economy.
Behind wine, tourism is the second largest employer in Napa County. The report states the industry delivers paychecks to 15,872 people with a combined payroll of $492 million. That's an employment increase of 18.1% from 13,437 jobs in 2016 and a payroll jump of 27.2% from $387 million.
Aside from the jobs, the report highlighted the amount of tax revenues received by the valley’s locales, including through levies placed on visitors’ hotel bills. About a third of the visitors who come to the Napa area stay the night, and the city of Napa receives the largest share of those hotel guests.
That translated to $21.6 million in hotel tax revenues for Napa in 2016, far outstripping its nearest rival, Yountville at $6.9 million, the figures show.
Above all, wine was the main attraction for those who visited. The report stated at about 97% of visitors stopped by a winery on their trip, and 73% visited at least one tasting room.
Dining, winery tours, shopping and getting on board the Napa Valley Wine Train were the other top ranked activities.
With a mean household income of $170,595, visitors included those who came over for a day trip. Their hometowns tended to be located in the San Francisco Bay Area (70%) followed by Vallejo-Fairfied (12%); San Jose (11%); Santa Rosa (3%) and Sacramento (1%).
Heavy on statistics, the report detailed little about the future strategy for the tourism agency. The report quoted Linsey Gallagher, president and CEO for Visit Napa Valley, who became CEO this year after longtime CEO Clay Gregory announced his retirement:
“Our goal is to maintain and increase travel and spending in the Napa Valley during non-peak time periods, including November through April (Cabernet Season) and midweek, Sunday through Thursday nights.”
Visit Napa Valley has an annual budget of $7.8 million and 28 employees.
Napa Valley tourism by the numbers
Top five places where U.S. visitors came from by volume percentage
1. California: 34.4%
2. Texas: 6.8%
3. New York: 6.1%
4. Florida: 5.7%
5. Illinois: 4.0%
Top 5 international countries by volume percentage
1. Canada: 17.7%
2. China: 17%
3. United Kingdom: 14.3%
4. Japan: 7.8%
5. Australia: 6%
2018 hotel tax revenues by Napa Valley government
• Napa: $21.6 million
• Yountville: $6.9 million
• St. Helena: $3 million
• Calistoga: $6.2 million
• American Canyon: $1.5 million
Types of visitors
35.5% - Visitors who stayed overnight in Napa Valley
64.5% – Visitors on day trips
How old are the visitors?
46 — The mean age of the Napa Valley visitors
48.6 — Mean age for those staying overnight
Source: Visit Napa Valley