Sonoma County Tourism has joined as a Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) member.

Sonoma County Tourism (SCT) is the destination stewardship organization dedicated to promoting overnight stays and creating a sustainable hospitality economy in Sonoma County, California.

Located just 45 minutes north of San Francisco, Sonoma County is known for its acclaimed food, relaxing spas, towering redwoods, scenic coastline, and over 425 wineries.

Sonoma County’s Strategic Plan

Sonoma County Tourism’s core values are strategic, transparent, collaborative, inclusive, entrepreneurial and trusted. These values drive their strategic planning and operational decisions.

Encouraging responsible stewardship of the community’s abundant resources is part of SCT’s mission. The 2021-2023 Strategic Plan‘s destination stewardship priorities include:

  • encouraging responsible travel behaviour
  • aligning with local organizations and national programs with a similar mission
  • communicating a broad-based approach to destination stewardship
  • maximizing the Accredited Hospitality Professional (AHP) Program

The AHP program encourages responsible travel and visitor safety by empowering the tourism and hospitality industry workforce to elevate the power of tourism to residents. The hospitality and tourism industry in Sonoma County comprises one out of every ten jobs. It provides almost $150 million in revenue for local and state governments. The revenue contributes to parks, economic development, cultural and historical events, affordable housing and other uses.

Commitment to Destination Stewardship

Sonoma County’s coastal and river beaches have become increasingly popular destinations. This trend has spiked as more people have discovered outdoor recreation during the pandemic. Summer day use in Sonoma County’s parks jumped 20% in 2020 from the same period in 2019.

Sonoma County Tourism (SCT) works with local organizations to protect the natural environment and its communities. Through a robust annual program, SCT has collaborated with municipalities in Sonoma County to inform visitors about ways to travel responsibly. Committing to the responsible tourism message and protecting the destination’s natural and cultural resources are high priorities. Therefore, SCT partnered with Sonoma County Regional Parks and Leave No Trace. This partnership helps mitigate environmental impacts on parks while preserving other outdoor recreation locations.

Sonoma County’s Seven Leave No Trace Principles provide a framework of minimum impact practices for anyone visiting the outdoors. These principles are highly relevant due to the surge in seasonal visitors to the Sonoma County coast and Russian River and the potential effects of drought on river recreation. SCT also invites visitors to sign the pledge to ‘Travel Kindly.’ These programs provide information and resources for Sonoma County residents, organizations, and visitors.

“Joining the Global Sustainable Tourism Council provides Sonoma County Tourism with valuable resources as we move through our destination master plan,” says Claudia Vecchio, President and CEO of Sonoma County Tourism. “Resiliency and sustainability continue to be a key focus as we thoughtfully map out our destination’s future and accelerate our industry’s recovery.”

GSTC Welcomes Sonoma County

“GSTC’s global team is delighted that Sonoma County Tourism has joined our network of expert practitioners to provide even more support and tools to their already strong approach to more sustainable forms of tourism,” says Randy Durband, CEO of the GSTC.

GSTC encourages destinations pursuing sustainability practices in tourism to join as GSTC members. Apply the GSTC Destination Criteria and support local businesses to apply the GSTC Industry Criteria. Destinations can eventually aim for achieving certification by a GSTC-Accredited Certification Body as a sustainable tourist destination.

For more information on Sonoma County Tourism, please visit