Let's Talk Tourism is a series of conversations about Sonoma County's tourism industry. We offer coffee, pastries, and a chance to discuss local tourism issues. The agenda includes information about SCT, plus an interactive group exercise focusing on your local destination.
Hospitality, a major employer and economic driver in the region, has the dual role of being a major benefit as well as an easy target for ills (housing costs, roads, traffic).
While the correlations can be tenuous, the perceptions linger and we need to be aware of and receptive to hearing about them.
Sonoma County is not alone in this: Cities and counties across the U.S. are grappling with these issues.
Naperville, Illinois, and Stamford, Connecticut are hardly tourist destinations, but they are examples of areas experiencing the pain of housing affordability for residents. Roads and infrastructure are debated from Alaska to Alabama, and one need not be an actuary to know that there are issues with government budgets.
So where does that leave us here in Sonoma County?
Sonoma County Tourism is in the midst of a robust campaign of "in-reach."
Having successfully grown an organization that reaches out 50 miles beyond our borders to bring in tourism dollars, we are also listening and interacting with our stakeholders: residents, businesses, government officials, and local media.
In the past weeks we've held our "Let's Talk Tourism"
events in Jenner, Santa Rosa, and Windsor and met with government officials from the County of Sonoma, Town of Windsor, City of Santa Rosa, City of Cotati, City of Rohnert Park, and City of Petaluma.
More events are on the docket (see below) and we know we need to be in the community, listening and working together on solutions.
Listening isn't just enough: What can we do to assist with solutions to these problems?
I'm not too handy with a hammer, and I don't know if we can expect restaurateurs and tour guides to start filling potholes in their spare time. But we can convene like-minded organizations and come up with concrete steps to address these issues.
We are working with the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber and other partners on many of these issues:Identifying problems and solutions, outlining plans of action, and defining how we can work together on them.
Sonoma County Tourism wants to be a part of this interaction, and we are ready to listen to you.
Sonoma County Tourism
After meeting with folks in Jenner, Santa Rosa, and Windsor (pictured above), we're excited to offer even more opportunities to gather with others involved in the tourism and hospitality industries countywide, to talk about the future we'd like to create together.
For more details or to bring Let's Talk Tourism
to your area, contact Nicole Bradin, director of community engagement and operations, at 707-522-5820, firstname.lastname@example.org