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Beyond tasting rooms – Sonoma’s bottom line issues

By Fred Allebach

Before the community is a question of values: how to frame the role of tourism in Sonoma Valley. Managing tourism, or not, has been framed as a zero-sum game. We need to get beyond that. It’s not just economic issues isolated from the whole. It’s about the aggregate of the whole and how we see it.

Mass tourism has known negative aspects. These can be addressed and possibly mitigated. Hawaii, Vermont, ski towns, national park towns, all have common issues. A prime cause of these issues is a myopic economic boosterism to the exclusion of other factors. The way to mitigate this is to cast a wider net and consider more community stakeholder’s bottom lines.

Below is a partial list of Sonoma, and common tourism, issues that lie beneath this wine tasting issue. These represent bottom lines that need to be entered to balance our aggregate budget.

• Disregard for conservation and resources: unlimited growth, extinction of fish.


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