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About the San Francisco Travel Association

San Francisco Travel Manifesto

Why do people visit San Francisco? The sights and scenery. The one-of-a-kind events and world-class food. The welcoming people, the diversity and rich history. 

But perhaps, more importantly, it has to do with the fact that no other city is as adept at combining disparate elements to create something new: taking the familiar and marrying it to the unknown; merging people’s expectations to moments of unpredictability; uniting long-held notions with startling innovations.

Clearly, the attraction of San Francisco is not any one thing, but the combination of many different things. As an organization, we see the city in its entirety — through the eyes of the people who live here, the people who love it and the people who love to come here.

And as proud as we are to help people arrange their visits to San Francisco, we see our mission in even broader scope: We believe our true value lies not just in our ability to sell our city, but in our role as curators of the most interesting 49 square miles on the planet.

We are the San Francisco Travel Association. And we are the window into the City by the Bay.

Vision

To ensure that San Francisco is the most compelling destination in the world.

Mission

To enhance the local economy by marketing San Francisco and the Bay Area as the premier destination for conventions, meetings, events and leisure travel. Acting as a specialized economic development agency, San Francisco Travel works to promote the destination worldwide while ensuring that tourism, the top generator of outside revenue into the city’s economy, is kept in the forefront as citywide decisions and policies are made. 

Values

San Francisco Travel's organizational values are:

Strive
We will strive to perform at our highest levels at all times with a commitment to giving our personal best at all times. We will uphold our goals and values and conduct all business with honesty and integrity.

Foster
We will foster a work environment that values and encourages communication and openness, diversity, individual contribution and positive attitudes.

Create
We will be a fertile environment for creativity, innovation and teamwork. We will keep the San Francisco Travel Association at the forefront of the industry, as befits one of the world's most creative cities.

Value
We will value our members, stakeholders, clients and most of all, each other, by being respectful, appreciative and willing to learn.

Be Accountable
We will be accountable to our goals, each other and fiscally accountable to our stakeholders.

Organization History

For more than 100 years the San Francisco Travel Association has worked on behalf of its partners to promote San Francisco as the destination of choice for conventions and leisure travel. The Association is an outgrowth of the San Francisco Convention and Tourist League, a non-profit, local business association founded in 1909 to reclaim the City's position as a world-class destination in the wake of the devastating 1906 earthquake and fire. San Francisco Travel continues that mission today, aggressively marketing and selling San Francisco to attract visitors. San Francisco Travel is a private, not-for-profit, 501(c)6 membership organization, headed by a Board of Directors made up of 39 business leaders from various companies, elected by the membership. Additionally, in 2003, the Association established a 501(c)3 foundation to raise scholarship funds for students enrolled in local hospitality management programs and to produce educational programs. In 2016, San Francisco hosted more than 25.2 million visitors who spent $9 billion during their stay. That makes tourism one of our most important industries.

Here's why:

  • Visitor dollars spent here generated $724 million in taxes and fees that support The City's general budget, health and safety, arts and cultural organizations, recreational facilities and low-income
housing.
  • Visitor dollars supported more than 80,200 jobs in the hospitality and tourism industries. That's about $2.5 billion in local payroll (excluding tips).

Largest Destination Marketing Organization Worldwide

More than 1,300 Bay Area businesses are San Francisco Travel partners, making our partnership base one of the largest of any convention and visitors bureau worldwide. Partners also make San Francisco Travel one of the largest and strongest business associations in San Francisco. Partner companies collaborate with the organization to sell San Francisco as a destination for individual travelers, groups, domestic and international association and corporate meetings — efforts that help make San Francisco a vibrant place to do business.

San Francisco Travel Partnership

Nearly every San Francisco business, large and small, benefits from the spending of tourists and convention-goers. Hotels, restaurants, retail shops, tour and transportation companies, attractions and other companies that have a large stake in the visitor market leverage the strength of their partnership to reach these customers. Partners are provided exclusive programs and services for maximizing their marketing, networking, relationship and educational development enabling them to capture a larger share of the visitor market. Learn more about partner benefits here.

San Francisco Travel Funding

Our work to attract conventions and visitors is made possible through both public and private sector support. 23% of our $34.8 million 2017-18 comes from the private sector in the form of membership dues, advertising, e-commerce and program revenues. 68% comes from a small portion of the revenue generated by the assessment on San Francisco hotel rooms (see www.sftid.com for additional information.) The balance comes through contracts with Grants for the Arts and San Francisco International Airport. For more information about our budgets, read our 2017-2018 Strategic Business Plan.

San Francisco Travel's Efforts Impact Entire Bay Area

The impact of visitors to San Francisco reaches far beyond the city itself. While the majority of San Francisco Travel's partner-businesses operate within the boundaries of the city, a third are located outside of San Francisco. These businesses recognize that attracting visitors to the city also generates tourism expenditures in their communities. Here are some visitor statistics that demonstrate the broad impact of the city's visitor industry:

  • A San Francisco Travel commissioned resident poll that found that 98% of San Francisco residents agree tourism is vital to San Francisco’s economy, and 78% believe tourism makes San Francisco a better place to live. The poll also found that 80% believe there is a healthy balance between tourist and resident activities.
  • 59% of total visitors are day visitors, meaning that a majority of our guests are coming from the surrounding Bay Area.
  • Thousands of visitors to the city take day trips beyond city limits or extend their visit throughout Northern California by taking side trips to other area locales and attractions such as Sausalito, wine country, Monterey, and the East Bay.

Executive Team

Joe D'Alessandro
President & CEO
president@sftravel.com

Tom David
Executive Vice President & Chief Sales Officer
tom@sftravel.com

Paul Frentsos
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
paul@sftravel.com

Howard Pickett
Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer
howard@sftravel.com

Tina Wu
Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
tina@sftravel.com

Hubertus Funke
Executive Vice President, Global Tourism Development
hubertus@sftravel.com

Cassandra Costello
Vice President, Public Policy & Executive Programs
cassandra@sftravel.com

Patricia Aleman
Director, Executive Office Programs
patricia@sftravel.com

Lynn Farzaroli
Senior Director, SF Tourism Improvement District MC
lynnf@sftravel.com

Jessica Richardson
Executive Associate, Executive Office
jessica@sftravel.com

View a complete listing of San Francisco Travel staff.

View the 2017-2018 Leadership and Board of Directors.

General Department Emails

San Francisco Travel Locations

Business Office
One Front St., Suite 2900
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: 415-974-6900
Fax: 415-227-2602

Visitor Information Center
900 Market St.
San Francisco, CA 94102-2804
Phone: 415-391-2000
Fax: 415-362-7323

Visitor Information Center
Macy's San Francisco
170 O'Farrell St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

Convention Sales Office - Washington, D.C.
1730 M St., NW, Ste. 807
Washington, D.C. 20036-4505
Phone: 202-466-4400
Fax: 202-452-8948

Convention Sales Office - Midwest Region
Phone: 630-541-5388
Fax: 630-395-9461

Convention Sales Office - Northeast
Phone: 718-636-6043