Land, tourism and taxes: An evaluation of tourism income in Sonoma County

Sonoma County
Region & Country

With support from the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, Conservation Strategy Fund completed a project evaluating the benefits of tourism in Sonoma County, California; specifically tourist behavior and tourism-related income in the context of scenic beauty and open space. With 7.5 million tourists per year, Sonoma County's economy thrives due in part to the contribution of tourists who visit for many reasons, including the area's rolling hills and panoramic vistas. 

The study analyzed data on tourism numbers and spending that circulates back into the local economy. We determined the link between wine-related tourism (world-class wineries in the region draw visitors from around the world) and the county's open space. In Sonoma County, scenic beauty and outdoor recreation combine with the region’s premier wineries to create a unique tourism “product” that is a powerful driver of the regional economy. Investments in land conservation sustain the scenic values on both public and private land throughout the county. 

This analysis is useful to many organizations involved in Sonoma's tourism and in the fields of agriculture, outdoor recreation and land preservation. 

This study was commissioned by the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District and made possible thanks to the District. Thanks also to our project partners and experts including Sonona County Tourism and Tom Birdsall.