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San Francisco Travel Foundation

San Francisco Travel Foundation

Tourism remains San Francisco’s #1 industry and we intend to keep it that way.

That’s why in May 2003, the San Francisco Travel Foundation was founded with a leadership gift from past Board of Directors chair Robert Werbe. With the vision of supporting the momentum of the hospitality industry, the Foundation’s vision is to enrich San Francisco’s youth through education and opportunity. Serving as separate, but affiliated, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, the Foundation prepares future industry leaders by providing scholarships to local students enrolled in hospitality management programs at local colleges and universities, and presents visitor-industry related educational programs to the community.

The Foundation accepts tax-deductible donations from individuals, businesses, organizations, and other foundations. To make a tax-deductible contribution, contact Paul Frentsos at (415) 227-2608 or

Total Funds Raised: $304,027+ and climbing...

Foundation Programs

Partner Events

Our calendars are packed each fiscal year with educational and networking opportunities for our partners. Aside from being an exclusive platform for local businesses to leverage their stake in the visitor and meetings market, we make it a point to incorporate the Foundation whenever possible. Events such as our Partner Business Exchanges and other educational seminars have contributed thousands of dollars of necessary funding to our local students. See all our upcoming partner events.

Macy's Flower Show Breakfast
This annual networking event is likely our most colorful. Teaming up with our partners at Macy’s Union Square, partners are invited to network with other like-minded businesses during an exclusive preview of Macy’s famous Flower Show. Paired with a silent auction, the event has generated more than $10,000 to the Foundation. Learn more...

Visitor Industry Outlook & Marketing Conference


Our most anticipated conference of the year provides our partners with an education on the current state of the industry, trends and forecasts for the future of San Francisco, and much more. Our largest contributor to the Foundation, this conference has raised more than $113,000. In addition, each year we provide free registration to a group of hospitality students and staff from San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco so they can learn and be inspired as well. Learn more...

Annual Luncheon
Our largest event of the year has not only raised more than $20,000 for the Foundation, but it’s also where we award our annual John A. Marks Scholarship recipient (in front of the city’s most influential industry leaders). Learn more...

Staff Education Hours
We’ve been fortunate enough to receive education and experience in the hospitality industry, so that’s why we make a point to contribute time to pass our knowledge along to our city’s youth. Throughout the year, San Francisco Travel staff visits hospitality classes at San Francisco State, University of San Francisco, and City College aiming to educate, inspire and motivate students.

Private Donations
We’re not the only ones who see the value in our youth. Thanks to generous contributions, the Foundation has received more than $58,000 in valuable support. If you’d like to make a contribution, click here.

Meet Our 2016 Scholarship Recipient
Finding and encouraging tomorrow’s leaders is the key objective of the San Francisco Travel Foundation. That’s why we join forces with the Hotel & Restaurant Foundation to award scholarships to students interested in careers in hospitality industry management.

When John Marks, longtime president and CEO of the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau (now known as San Francisco Travel Association) retired in 2006 after almost 19 years of leading the association, we thought it would be fitting to honor his legacy and support an outstanding student each fiscal year by creating the John A. Marks Scholarship.

In selecting a candidate for this scholarship, we looked for a bright, energetic student who is active in one or more hospitality-related campus activities or associations, and who showcases strong leadership potential.

The recipient of the 2016 John A. Marks Scholarship is Richard Suwa. A student at the University of San Francisco, Richard has worked at the Hotel Nikko and San Francisco Travel, taken leadership positions and internships with industry-related campus groups, and excelled in his studies in hospitality administration.