Tourism — both in the North Bay and throughout the Golden State — continues to big a large economic influence with a statewide report showing it generated $132.4 billion in direct spending, increasing 4.8 percent.
Visit California’s issued the report which also stated the tax revenue to all agencies related to travel was nearly $11 billion.
The report included hotel revenue by county, measured by transient occupancy taxes.
Napa generated $44.0 million in such taxes last year; Marin, $7.87 million; Solano, $4.72 million,; Mendocino, $8.63 million; and Lake, $482,000.
That report lacked data from some cities and unincorporated areas in those counties.
Sonoma County Tourism updated the figures for that county this week and included missing data. Its report shows total hotel tax revenues for the county increased by 15 percent to $43.7 million over 2016. That figure was influenced in part by the October wildfires which destroyed thousands of homes, especially in Santa Rosa. Nearby Rohnert Park, for example, reported $1.3 million in tax revenue in the fourth quarter of last year, up from $782,910 in the final quarter of 2016.
For other areas, the statewide report lacked tax revenue information from some areas. Napa County did not include revenue from Calistoga; Solano County, no data in the report from Benicia and Fairfield; Mendocino, no data from Willits; and no data in the report for the unincorporated area of Lake County.
California bed taxes overall were down slightly last year, to $2.35 billion from $2.41 billion.
However, data from research firm STR for 2017 paints a less dreary picture of hotel revenue. In a survey of operators for over 22,000 rooms in four North Bay counties, the firm found that room revenue growth last year was basically flat in Napa, up 8.6 percent in Sonoma, up 1.3 percent in Marin and up 6.4 percent in Solano.
Visitor arrivals on domestic flights to the California were up by 5.6 percent, the state tourism report said, while $6 of every $10 spent at visitor destinations were spend by those from other states or countries. However international visitors spending “flattened” over the past two years, the report said, accounting for less than 25 percent in 2017.
Historically, travel spending has climbed from $100 billion in 2010 to more than $130 billion.
All those visitors need workers in various industries. In 2017 that meant 1.1 million people working in the travel industry — 3.1 percent more than the year before. Accommodations and food service are the major parts of that picture, following by arts, entertainment and recreation industries, the report concludes.
Napa County, at about 18 percent, ranks sixth on a list of top 20 counties for travel-generated jobs.
After the statewide report was issued, Sonoma County Tourism issued a statement that the overall tourism economy in Sonoma County grew by 2.3 percent in 2017.
Total direct travel spending in Sonoma County was $1.99 billion for 2017, according to the statement, and the total number of jobs in the tourism economy also grew by 4.66 percent, with 21,570 jobs now in the tourism sector locally. That equates to more than one in 10 private employer jobs in Sonoma County.
“Tourism is an important economic driver for Sonoma County,” said Claudia Vecchio, president and CEO of Sonoma County Tourism. “As a destination, we continue to show a return on our investment in tourism marketing, which translates to local jobs and government revenue.”