Sonoma County's hotel business was up almost 7 percent in January, with 48 percent of rooms filled, according to Smith Travel Research.

It was the highest January occupancy since 2007.

Room rates rose more than 2 percent from the same period last year. The $89.76 average rate was the highest since 2008.

Smith Travel's monthly survey covers 91 hotel properties and 6,122 rooms.

Sonoma County's travel sector should grow 5 percent this year, according to the county Tourism Bureau. Smith Travel's national forecast calls for 4 percent growth in 2012.

Sonoma County attracts about 7 million visitors each year, who spend between $1.2 billion and $1.3 billion on hotels, restaurants and attractions.

The industry provides more than 16,000 jobs.