Travelers to return to Sonoma starting June 19
Sonoma County, – After three months of shelter-in-place and associated lodging and locals-only restrictions on a variety of businesses, Sonoma County’s health officer has announced that the region will re-open for travelers visiting from outside the county starting June 19. This is the latest in a series of re-opening announcements for Sonoma County’s hospitality industry.
Restaurants, wineries, breweries, distilleries, and parks are already open, but have been restricted to local residents. For the first time since mid-March, visitors from outside the area and whose travels require an overnight stay can enjoy the world-class offerings found throughout Sonoma County. A listing of accommodations businesses throughout Sonoma County can be found at: www.sonomacounty.com/hotels-lodging
“This marks a tremendous step forward,” said Claudia Vecchio, president/CEO, Sonoma County Tourism (SCT). “The tourism industry has taken a significant economic hit during the past three months and we’re very glad the time has come to welcome visitors for “Life Opens Up” experiences.”
“Opportunity to reinvigorate”
“The pandemic has dealt the local lodging industry its worst loss in the region’s history,” stated Steve Jung, general manager, Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Sonoma Wine Country and chair of the Sonoma County Tourism board of directors. “While some lodging facilities have remained open to house essential travelers, this destination is built around the leisure traveler. This marks an important opportunity to reinvigorate the County’s economy and get Sonoma Countians back to work.”
Sonoma County’s tourism and hospitality community has been working to implement strict safety protocols in preparation for re-opening. Guided by high standards developed by respectable entities, including national, state, local, association, and industry brands, businesses across Sonoma County are confident in the protocols that visitors will experience.
Safe Travels Promise
“While we believe travelers will want to come to Sonoma County for its wide-open spaces, fresh air and well-known wine and food offerings, we also know there is some uncertainty among the local residents in welcoming these visitors,” added Vecchio. “Because we want to ensure travelers exercise health and wellbeing practices while here, we developed a SAFE Travels Promise, designed to reiterate the idea that we’re all in this together – locals and visitors alike.”
SCT worked with business groups across the county to develop the SAFE Travels Promise. The Safe Travels Promise encourages visitors to “Be smart. Be safe. Be kind. Stay healthy.” The promise will be posted at business locations throughout the county, on billboards and on postcards and bookmarks. It also will be conveyed via video in the same way an airline shows an inflight safety program, with SCT leveraging social media and digital billboards within Sonoma County to get the message out.
To celebrate the re-opening, SCT has launched a campaign to welcome visitors back. Leveraging the countywide brand – Life Opens Up – the campaign targets consumers in drive markets, who are pre-disposed to taking a trip to Sonoma County. The tourism agency has also developed a series of promotions to generate awareness about the re-opening and the destination’s appeal for road trips. The first promotion debuts June 17 and is a Sonoma County getaway package valued at nearly $3,000. It includes a hotel stay, culinary experiences, wine tasting passes, and other activities.
“Never before has the “Sonoma County: Life Opens Up” brand been more important,” said Todd O’Leary, vice president of marketing/communications at SCT. “Just as a fine wine opens up as it breathes, so too will people seek the chance to open up and breathe after sheltering place for these many months. We look forward to welcoming visitors seeking these types of experiences that, in combination, can only be found in Sonoma County.”
More information about the Life Opens Up campaign can be found at www.sonomacounty.com/lifeopensup
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