San Francisco Travel Reports Tenth Year of Record-Breaking Tourism Levels for 2019

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San Francisco Travel Reports Tenth Year of Record-Breaking Tourism Levels for 2019

Total visitor volume hits 26.2 Million, up 1.4 percent while visitor spending exceeds $10.2 billion, up 2.7 percent.

Feb. 27, 2020 – The San Francisco Travel Association released tourism figures for 2019 today at San Francisco Travel’s Marketing Conference at the Mission Bay Conference Center, San Francisco. 

San Francisco Travel is reporting a total of 26.2 million visitors to the city in 2019 (with minor adjustments expected as final data is received), up 1.4 percent over 25.8 million in 2018. 

Total spending by visitors was $10.2 billion, up 2.7 percent over $10 billion in 2018 (including spending on meetings and conventions). 

“This is the tenth consecutive year that we are able to report record-breaking outcomes for San Francisco’s tourism industry.  The 26.2 million visitors and $10.2 billion in spending created 86,111 jobs and supported services for people throughout the city and the entire Bay Area,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of San Francisco Travel.

“Overall, 2019 was another great year.  Internationally, the evolving coronavirus situation and other market conditions make 2020 a difficult year to project,” D’Alessandro said.

San Francisco International Airport

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) served a total of 57.5 million passengers, a 0.5 percent drop from 2018.  International traffic was strong, with a 7.2 percent increase in 2019.   

Hotel Occupancy

“Room nights booked and consumed at the Moscone Center exceeded one million in 2019” D’Alessandro said.  “This is only the second year this has ever happened, 2014 being the first.”

Average hotel occupancy was 82.9 percent for 2019, up 0.8 percent, while average daily rates were $276.92, up by 4.7 percent.      

International Visitor Volume

International visitors again comprised 28.3 percent of overnight visitors and 61.6 percent of all overnight visitor spending in 2019.   San Francisco welcomed 2.9 million international visitors in 2019, up 1.3 percent from 2018. 

The top five markets for visitor volume in 2019 were Mexico, China, the United Kingdom, Canada and Germany.  The fastest growing international markets were France, United Kingdom, Italy and Taiwan.

International Visitor Spending

International visitors spent $5.1 billion in 2019, up 3 percent from $ 4.9 billion in 2018.

The top five markets for visitor spending in 2019 were China, the United Kingdom, India, South Korea and Australia.

International markets with the most growth in spending were France (up 4.8 percent), Mexico (2.7 percent), Taiwan (2.5 percent), South Korea (2.1 percent) and the United Kingdom (2.0 percent).

According to D’Alessandro, international tourism levels were affected by a variety of factors:

  • A stronger U.S. dollar, increasing the cost of visiting the United States
  • International trade wars
  • Tightening credit

 Far Reaching Economic Impact

According to the Visitor Study, visitor spending equated to $26.2 million daily or $1.1 million per hour.  The average visitor spent $364.94 per day.  Convention attendees spent an average of $584.32 per day.

The number of jobs supported by tourism in San Francisco rose 4.3 percent to 86,111 jobs in 2019.

There was an average of 71,805 visitors in San Francisco each day.

The tourism industry generated $819.7 million in taxes and fees for the City of San Francisco in 2019, an increase of 6 percent over the previous year.  Major contributors to that figure include hotel tax (51 percent) and property tax (21 percent).

On a per capita basis, visitors spent $10,820 per San Francisco resident.  Visitors generated $2,198 in taxes per San Francisco household.

The San Francisco Travel Association is the official destination marketing organization for the City and County of San Francisco.

For information on reservations, activities and more, visit www.sftravel.com or call 415-391-2000. 

San Francisco Travel’s main Visitor Information Center is now located at 749 Howard St., adjacent to the Moscone Convention Center.   San Francisco Travel also operates Visitor Information Centers at Macy’s Union Square and in Chinatown at 625 Kearny St.  San Francisco Travel is also a partner at the California Welcome Center at PIER 39. 

For more about San Francisco, follow www.facebook.com/onlyinSF, www.instagram.com/onlyinsf and https://twitter.com/onlyinsf.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) offers non-stop flights to more than 50 international cities on 44 international carriers. The Bay Area's largest airport connects non-stop with 85 cities in the U.S. on 12 domestic airlines. SFO offers 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 www.flysfo.com. Follow SFO on www.twitter.com/flysfo and www.facebook.com/flysfo.

United Airlines is the preferred airline of the San Francisco Travel Association.

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