Last year, the Napa Valley drew 2.94 million visitors who opened their wallets for $1.4 billion in direct tourism spending, according to a newly released report.

A separate study found that winery tasting rooms were the largest draw, with 82 percent of visitor interest, followed by restaurant dining, 77 percent, and shopping, at 53 percent.

The numbers are derived from a survey question posed to visitors, asking which activities they participated in during their stays.

But perhaps of most significant to the local wine, tourism and hospitality industries is that 92.9 percent of those surveyed said they were “likely or very likely” to return.

Visit Napa Valley issued the results of the studies this week, which were produced with Destination Analysts.

“It’s very exciting to learn what our guests enjoy most about our region,” said Clay Gregory, Visit Napa Valley’s CEO, in a news release. “And the hard data about the economic impact shows how important tourism is to our community.”

The economic impact and visitor profile studies data throughout 2012.

Both studies relied on surveys of 1,129 visitors who stayed at hotels, 865 people surveyed on day trips, 300 Napa County residents, as well as data from hotel occupancy rates, industry payrolls and county tax receipts.

Day-trip visitors made up the largest segment of tourists, at 66.2 percent, while tourists staying over night accounted for 29.6 percent. People visiting friends and relatives made up 4.2 percent.

St. Helena was the most-visited town, with 66.6 percent of tourists stopping there, followed by the city of Napa, at 63.2 percent, Yountville, 48.3 percent, Calistoga, 43.6 percent, Oakville, 36.2 percent, and Rutherford, 34.3 percent. Carneros, American Canyon, Lake Berryessa and Angwin rounded out the remaining areas.

The percentages are derived from a question asking which towns and areas tourists visited during their stays.

The average tourist went to 4.1 wineries while in the Napa Valley, and the average day-tripper went to 3.5 wineries, according to the study. On average, tourists stayed for 2.1 days on their trips here.

The Napa Valley’s natural beauty stood out as visitors’ most-liked aspect, as 37.3 percent of those surveyed reported. Following that was wine, wineries and wine tasting, at 34.9 percent. Food and dining was cited by 11.4 percent, and weather ranked fourth, with 9.2 percent.

These numbers came in response to the question, “What aspects of your experience in the Napa Valley did you like best?”

While day-trippers accounted for the largest segment of tourism, those staying overnight at hotels represented the biggest spenders, according to the economic impact study.

They were the source of $1.03 billion in spending last year, which was 73.6 percent of the total, according to the study. The average per-person, per-day spending for visitors staying overnight was $355.28.

That translates to 10,498 people employed in the visitor industry and $300 million in payroll, according to the study.

From that, $51.7 million was generated in tax revenue for local governments, which breaks out to $1,041 per household in the county.

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