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San Francisco Travel Association releases 2011 economic impact figures

The San Francisco Travel Association reported today that San Francisco welcomed 16.35 million visitors in 2011, an increase of 2.7 percent from 2010. These visitors spent $8.46 billion in 2011, up 9.8 percent from the previous year.


Visitors to San Francisco up 2.7%. Visitor spending up 9.8% from 2010 March 27, 2012"

March 27, 2012 — The San Francisco Travel Association reported today that San Francisco welcomed 16.35 million visitors in 2011, an increase of 2.7 percent from 2010. These visitors spent $8.46 billion in 2011, up 9.8 percent from the previous year. The data was presented during the seventh annual Northern California Visitor Industry Outlook & Marketing Conference today at the Marriott Marquis.

The tourism industry generated $526 million in taxes for the City of San Francisco, up 8.6 percent from the previous year. Tourism supported 71,403 jobs in 2011 with an annual payroll of $2.06 billion. In 2011, there was an average of 129,499 visitors in San Francisco each day. Visitor spending equated to $23.19 million daily (including spending related to meetings and conventions).

“Our economic recovery continues but we have a ways to go,” said Joe D'Alessandro, San Francisco Travel president and CEO. "We can look forward to the events of this year that will drive significant leisure travel as well as the strong convention bookings to keep the momentum going.”

Convention bookings were at 49% of goal at midyear and are on target to achieve the annual goal of 2,000,000 booked room nights which is an 11% increase over last year. Nine conventions in San Francisco have received record breaking attendance in the past five months, continuing a trend that has been tracked since 1998. The likelihood of holding a well-attended event is a significant attraction for meeting planners considering San Francisco.

Among the things that will keep the momentum going for San Francisco’s tourism industry are:

  • The 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, with the Golden Gate Festival on May 27 and tributes and activities throughout the year, including personally-guided daily bridge tours. Permanent improvements to the visitor experience include a new Golden Gate Bridge Pavilion to welcome visitors, house celebratory merchandise and display interpretive exhibits, conversion of the iconic Round House from a gift shop to a space for visitor and education programs, revitalization of the bridge plaza to serve as a gathering and orientation space, restoration of trails and scenic vistas and construction of a dramatic new Golden Gate Overlook on the southwest side of the bridge. Learn more at
  • The 2012 U.S. Open Golf Championship will be played at the historic Olympic Club, located in San Francisco June 14-17, 2012. Four previous U.S. Open golf championships have been hosted at this venue – in 1955, 1966, 1987 and 1998. This event presents golfers from around the world with the opportunity to see the world's best professionals compete on this classic stage, and to play some of the nation’s finest public courses including Pasatiempo Golf Club, CordeValle, Pebble Beach, and Spyglass Hill. Already, more than 8,200 room nights have been booked for this event by the U.S.G.A alone. Individual reservations are also being made through the USGA and San Francisco Travel’s online reservations partner aRes. More information about the 2012 U.S. Open is available at
  • The new America's Cup World Series, featuring all of the America's Cup competitors, to be held in San Francisco Aug. 23–26 and Oct. 4-7, 2012. Learn more at

To help keep San Francisco’s message in front of the leisure travelers that make up 54% of the total visitors (vacationer and weekend getaways combined), San Francisco Travel works with strategic partners including American Express®, Levi’s, Wells Fargo, Pier 39, and Amtrak to develop integrated marketing campaigns to increase visitation to San Francisco and enhance visitor engagement in market. In April, San Francisco Travel will launch a co-operative leisure marketing campaign leveraging the big events of the summer and highlighting the vast array of unique experiences the city offers outside of these events. The campaign will target adult travelers in key feeder markets, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and Seattle to drive visitation before and after the major events this summer. Partners include American Express, CityPASS, Pier 39, and Westfield San Francisco Centre.

San Francisco Travel continues its marketing efforts targeting gay and lesbian (LGBT) travelers, a key visitor segment for San Francisco. San Francisco Travel’s gay travel microsite, titled “49 Hours of SF: Out & About,” has recently been redesigned, with LGBT focused itineraries, and an “Out with the Locals” section featuring San Francisco residents who provide “insider tips” on what to see and do in San Francisco. GayCities, American Express, Westfield San Francisco Centre and Kimpton Hotels are official sponsors of the campaign. A 2010 survey by Community Marketing, Inc. shows San Francisco to be the #2 overall destination of choice in America for LGBT travelers.

Dine About Town, the annual restaurant promotion developed by San Francisco Travel Association, is celebrating its 11th year in 2012. The program generates an estimated $3 million in additional revenue to the city’s restaurants. The second half of the 2012 program will take place June 1-15 with over 100 restaurants participating. At the annual Dine About Town kickoff event in January, $21,000 was raised for Meals on Wheels, equating to 5,300 meals for San Francisco homebound seniors.

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