Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Politics & Govt
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Published on April 01, 2024
San Francisco's Tourism Revival, Visitor Spending Soars to $8.8 Billion as City RecoversSource: Peter Kaminski from San Francisco, California, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

San Francisco is experiencing a slow but steady resurgence in its tourism industry. Despite the challenges still looming ahead, San Francisco is witnessing a revival of visitors with a notable uptick in both its tourist volume and spending, as reported by Axios.

According to the San Francisco Travel Association, the city attracted 23.1 million visitors last year, marking a 5.2% increase from 2022, with tourists shelling out a substantial $8.8 billion. These figures demonstrate a heartening 18% year-over-year surge in expenditure. However, San Francisco Travel's president, Scott Beck highlighted in a press release that attracting more events to the city is crucial, given their significant impact, on the city's economy. In 2023, this approach seemed fruitful, bolstering nearly $610 million in tax revenue for the city, better than the previous year's $522 million, according to the San Francisco Travel Association.

Scott Beck noted the importance of conventions and global gatherings, like Dreamforce and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders' summit, as key contributors to the tourism sector's recovery. Last year's events, hosted at the Moscone Center, led to an impressive 82.6% bump in hotel room nights for convention attendees, while the leisure & hospitality industry flexed its employment muscle, supporting around 63,000 jobs in the city.

Despite these gains, the city's reputation has taken hits, with Lincoln, an SF Travel spokesperson telling SFGATE that the city is "plagued by perception" issues—stemming from an overdose epidemic, homelessness crises, and concerns over crime. Nonetheless, Ted Egan, the city's chief economist reassured the public that San Francisco is "on track," signaling hope for a resilient rebound, according to Axios.

Looking ahead to 2024, the predictions are optimistic, with expected visitor volume reaching 23.7 million and forecasts of $9.45 billion in spending. The hotel industry is also anticipated to see growth, with occupancy projected to hit 65% and average daily rates to climb to $251.91. San Francisco seems to be banking on its innovative spirit to draw in tourists, with SF Travel broadcasting the slate of notable tech and business conferences scheduled at Moscone Center this year. SFO isn't lagging either, with the airport looking to service nearly 54 million passengers, the San Francisco Travel Association reports.