Sonoma County Tourism Seeks 1 Million Visitors Committed to Sustainable Tourism
Sonoma County Tourism (SCT) announced in late August a significant commitment to helping travelers enjoy a visit to the area while protecting the treasured local natural and cultural resources. Through three distinct programs, SCT is working with partners across the county to ensure resources are protected and the vibrant economic engine that tourism provides to the economy is focused on creating a balance between robust tourism development and sustainable tourism practices. As part of its FY19-21 strategic plan, SCT will move from being a destination marketing organization (DMO) to a destination stewardship organization (DSO) with the goal of ensuring all programming is in the best interest of Sonoma County. The core programming around sales and marketing remain as paramount, but the activities and associated messaging will center on promoting the area for travelers who seek an experience that aligns with the values around stewardship and responsible travel. The plan will provide a roadmap for becoming a destination that compels travelers from around the world, while interconnecting the needs of local residents and businesses. SCT joins several Sonoma County businesses that have already shown a dedication to sustainability. Through a short, but insightful pledge, visitors can confirm their commitment to considering the environment and those around them while in Sonoma County. The pledge can be found on the new microsite: www.sonomacounty.com/sustainable. Sonoma County also is working with Kind Traveler in a program that allows visitors to give back to local organizations with every booked hotel stay. This hotel booking platform unlocks special rates, perks and amenities in exchange for a $10 per night donation to a local charity within Sonoma County. Guests are incentivized with perks such as a complimentary bottle of wine, a credit towards dining, or a certificate to a local tasting room, while 100 percent of their donation goes directly to one of three local charity organizations. Nearly 75 percent of travelers polled in Tourism Cares and Phocuswright’s Good Travels research study (www.tourismcares.org/goodtravelsresearch) believe it’s important that their travel dollars benefit the communities they visit.