Tourism Officials Developing Strategies to Rise From the Ashes
As firefighters gained the upper hand last week on wildfires that had burned more than 150,000 acres in Napa and Sonoma counties, tourism officials started plotting their recovery plans to help lessen the impact of fire damages on businesses and workers whose livelihoods depend on the billions of dollars visitors spend in Northern California's wine country each year.
"There are over 20,000 people in Sonoma County employed in the hospitality industry," said Tim Zahner, interim CEO of Sonoma County Tourism, which reports that annual tourism spending in Sonoma County is $1.93 billion. "Hospitality is very important to Sonoma County."
Zahner said it was too soon to determine the fires' economic toll on the county's tourism economy, but he added that Sonoma and Napa counties were already working together to come up with marketing initiatives.