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San Francisco Residents Strongly Support Tourism According to New Independent Survey

Residents of San Francisco once again named tourism the city’s most important industry in a survey released today by the San Francisco Travel Association.


April 20, 2017 - Residents of San Francisco once again named tourism the city’s most important industry in a survey released today by the San Francisco Travel Association.  This finding is consistent with a similar survey conducted five years ago.  

The study found that San Franciscans were nearly unanimous in understanding the economic importance of tourism with 98% responding that tourism is very important or important to the vitality of the city’s economy.  Additionally, when directly asked if they believe tourism is “the city’s most important industry,” almost 56% agreed or strongly agreed. 

“Based on these independent findings, it is deeply gratifying to see the vast majority of San Francisco residents continue to appreciate the important role tourism plays in the economic vitality of our city” reflected Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of the San Francisco Travel Association. 

The survey also found residents consider tourism important to the financial health of San Francisco’s city government with the lion-share of respondents – 96.2% - agreeing that tourism is important to San Francisco's city budget.  Less than 1% felt tourism has a negative impact on city finances.

“As a member of the travel and tourism sector, it is extremely rewarding to learn that our fellow San Franciscans value the benefits tourism provides in terms of city services,” said Rodrigo Enriquez, chair of San Francisco Travel Association’s Board of Directors. 

The survey also found residents acknowledge the lifestyle benefits derived from a healthy tourism economy with more than 73% of respondents agreeing that “tourism makes San Francisco a better place to live.”  The study also found 79% of residents agree there is a “healthy balance of tourism and resident activity” in the city. This may explain why most respondents believe their elected officials should support public policies that promote tourism with 70% saying they would be more likely to vote for a Mayor whose policies support tourism and almost 78% agreeing that “it is important for their district supervisor to support tourism."

The survey was conducted by San Francisco-based Destination Analysts in March 2017.  A total of 400 adult San Francisco residents were interviewed by telephone.  The survey included open-ended and close-ended questions gathering resident opinions on tourism-related topics and was commissioned by the San Francisco Travel Association.

The San Francisco Travel Association is a private, not-for-profit organization that markets the city as a leisure, convention and business travel destination.  With more than 1,300 partner businesses, San Francisco Travel is one of the largest membership-based tourism promotion agencies in the country. 

Tourism, San Francisco's largest industry, generated record-breaking numbers in 2016.  More than 25.1 million people visited the destination, spending in excess of $9.69 billion. More than 76,520 jobs are supported by tourism in San Francisco. 

The San Francisco Travel business offices are located at One Front St., Suite 2900, San Francisco, CA 94111.  

San Francisco Travel operates Visitor Information Centers at Hallidie Plaza, 900 Market St. at the corner of Powell and Market streets, and on the lower level of Macy’s Union Square.  San Francisco Travel is also a partner at the California Welcome Center at PIER 39.  For more information, visit

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) offers non-stop flights to more than 46 international cities on 39 international carriers. The Bay Area's largest airport connects non-stop with 79 cities in the U.S. on 13 domestic airlines. SFO is proud to offer upgraded free Wi-Fi with no advertising. For up-to-the-minute departure and arrival information, airport maps and details on shopping, dining, cultural exhibitions, ground transportation and more, visit Follow SFO on and

American Express® is the official Card partner of the San Francisco Travel Association.

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