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Tourism Means Business

2019 Travel Economic Impacts in Tuolumne County

Travel Impacts for Local Businesses:

Total Travel Spending: $273 million = 7% increase over 2018

Lodging: $78.3 million
Food Service: $76.2 million
Food Stores: $11.8 million
Local Transportation & Gas: $29.7 million
Arts, Entertainment & Recreation: $35.4 million
Retail Sales: $30.5 million


2,445 Tourism Industry Jobs (not including Black Oak Casino Resort and Chicken Ranch Casino)

State and Local Tax Receipts:

$21.3 million = 8.7% increase over 2018

State and local tax revenue is equivalent to $960 per Tuolumne County resident household.

Transient Occupancy Tax Collected in 2019:

Tuolumne County (unincorporated): $4.73 million

City of Sonora: $502,000

Reported by Dean Runyan Associates for Visit California, May 2020

About the Transient Occupancy Tax

- Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) is paid by visitors to our County and is a benefit to everyone who lives in Tuolumne County and the City of Sonora.
- Visit Tuolumne County is funded by 25% of the collected TOT, allowing Tuolumne County to be marketed as a tourist destination across multiple channels nationwide and internationally.
- 75% of the collected tax revenue goes towards infrastructure, parks and other important public services.
- TOT dollars are the only tax dollars that stay 100% local!
- The tax is collected from guests who stay at our local hotels, motels, B&Bs, vacation rentals, cabins and other short-term lodging.
- TOT is not a tax on businesses.
- The collection of TOT reduces the tax burden for local residents.
- TOT rate in Tuolumne County and in incorporated Sonora is 10%.

What does Visit Tuolumne County (VTC) do for residents?

VTC builds revenue, creates jobs, and supports local businesses.

VTC promotes the region’s many lodging properties, attractions, local businesses and activities to persuade new and returning visitors to book overnight trips and increase in-market spending. Additionally, VTC is an advocate that gives small businesses a large voice in marketing.

Tourism spending lightens tax load on residents, creates jobs and opens doors for economic development. By collecting Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT ) from overnight guests, lodging properties in Tuolumne County contribute millions of dollars in tax revenues, which stay exclusively in the county. 75% of TOT funds pay for emergency services, roads and other County infrastructure.

Specifically, how much Return on Investment (ROI) is VTC generating?

The data speaks for itself.

In 2020, budgets were reduced — and the amount of tax revenue decreased significantly.

How important is this today?

As we learned from 2020, a decrease in tourism affects us all.

Tourism benefits local economies, businesses and residents alike. As VTC continues post-pandemic recovery efforts, economic recovery depends in part on robust tourism marketing tactics, which will ultimately generate more visitor spending and restoration of tax revenue.

With visitors making new plans and the competition heating up, there has never been a more important time for VTC. There’s substantial opportunity to bring in more visitors during fall, winter and spring and improve the quality of the trip for summer visitors. And as groups/meetings and international travel bounce back, you need VTC to reach these audiences as they stay longer and spend more across a wider range of products and services.

This is not a short-term recovery effort, and we need to be able to rely on VTC funding if we hope to overcome the challenges from the pandemic.

What can I do to support VTC and the economic health of my county? 

Speak up and share your support. 

Visit Tuolumne County
193 S Washington St
Sonora, CA 95370

800-446-1333 | 209-533-4420
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