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San Francisco Travel Updates Tourism Forecast

San Francisco Travel Updates Tourism Forecast for 2017 and Gives Projections for 2018


Sept. 26, 2017 – The San Francisco Travel Association has updated its forecast for 2017 and released projections for 2018. The new projections were announced today at San Francisco Travel’s Tourism and Economic Forum at the Marines Memorial Club, San Francisco. The figures for 2016 and 2017 have been adjusted slightly since they were released in March 2017 as additional information has been received.

San Francisco Travel is forecasting a total of 25.6 million visitors to the city for 2017, up 1.7 percent over 25.184 million in 2016. Total spending by visitors is projected to reach $9.138 billion, up 1.8 percent over $8.976 billion in 2016.

For 2018, San Francisco Travel is forecasting a total of 26.281 million visitors to the city, an increase of 2.6 percent. Total spending by visitors in 2018 is projected to reach $9.486 billion, up 3.8 percent.

Average hotel occupancy rates are forecast at 84.4 percent for 2017 and 84.7 percent for 2018. Average daily rates are projected at $248.30 for 2017 and $252.85 for 2018.

Overnight visitor spending is forecasted to represent 86.7 percent of all visitor spending. Overnight visitors should comprise 40.9 percent of the total, or 10.5 million people, and are projected to spend $8 billion. This is an increase of 1.6 percent over $7.8 billion in 2016.

Day visitors should total 15.1 million or 59 percent of the total and are forecasted to spend $1.22 billion. This is an increase of 2.8 percent over $1.18 billion in 2016. Day visitors should account for 13.3 percent of all visitor spending.

San Francisco Travel expects to welcome 2.893 million international visitors in 2017, an increase of 0.3 percent over 2016. International visitors should comprise 27.6 percent of visitors in total.

International visitors are expected to account for 61.2 percent of all overnight visitor spending in 2017. They are projected to spend $4.851 billion, up 1.1 percent from $4.8 billion in 2016.

Looking ahead to 2018, international visitor volume is expected to grow by two percent to 2.952 million. Spending is expected to grow by 3.2 percent to $5 billion.
“Visits from our international markets will be relatively flat, up 0.3 percent in 2017 versus 2.1 percent growth in 2016. The declining markets in ’17 are led by Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom and other European markets. Offsetting these declines is strong performance of the Asia/Pacific markets (China, India, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia). In 2016, growth was more across-the-board,” said Joe D’Alessandro, San Francisco Travel president and CEO.
“Internationally, the U.S. dollar is strong in some key markets such as the United Kingdom, Europe and Canada, which can make travelers more budget-conscious than usual,” D’Alessandro said. “Some of the international decreases, in Mexico and other markets, are the effects of the proposed changes in immigration and travel policies are having an impact on travel.”
“Spending from our international markets will be up 1.1 percent in 2017 versus forecast of 3.2 percent growth in 2018. Moving into 2018, the driving factors are the same with Asia/Pacific markets performing strongly and Mexico, Canada and Europe beginning to recover,” D’Alessandro stated.
The U.S. Travel Associations latest Travel Trends Index (TTI) offers a substantially more pessimistic assessment of the U.S. travel economy than in months past, after a revised analysis reveals major storm clouds for the inbound international travel market.

The report updates earlier numbers with newly available data, and finds that international visitation—initially found to have grown consistently this year—contracted in four of the seven months for which data is so far available.

The largest increases in international visitor volume in San Francisco for 2017 will be in China (7.76 percent), India (7.23 percent) and South Korea (5.82 percent). The largest decreases will be from Mexico (-9.38 percent), the United Kingdom (-5.26 percent), Scandinavia (-4.54 percent), France (-2.92 percent), Canada (-2.68 percent) and Germany (-2.67 percent).

The largest overseas market for San Francisco will continue to be China with 507,890 visitors projected for 2017. For 2018, China is projected to see a 6.7 percent in visitor volume and 12.27 percent in spending.

The second largest overseas market, the United Kingdom, is forecasted to send 352,260 visitors in 2017 (up from the earlier forecast of 341,770). This market will be down -5.26 percent from 2016 due to economic variables in the U.K. For 2018, the U.K. is projected to see a -0.43 percent decrease in visitor volume and a 1.96 percent increase in spending.

Visitation projections from Germany, the third largest overseas market, have been adjusted slightly upward for 2017 from 264,340 to 271,870, representing a decrease of -2.67 percent from 2016. For 2018, Germany is projected to see a 1.02 percent increase in visitor volume and a 0.87 percent increase in spending.

Canada will send 272.15 million visitors in 2017, a decrease of -2.68 from 2016. For 2018, Canada is projected to see a 1.64 percent in visitor volume and 1.85 percent in spending.

For 2018, it is expected that the fastest growing overseas markets in terms of visitor volume will be China (6.7 percent), India (6.16 percent) and Brazil (5.18 percent). The fastest growing markets for spending will be China (12.27 percent), Taiwan (8.05 percent) and India (7.43 percent).

Visitor spending equated to $25 million daily or one million dollars per hour.

The number of jobs supported by tourism in San Francisco rose 4.83 percent to 80,219 jobs in 2016.

The tourism industry generated more than $724.9 million in taxes and fees for the City of San Francisco in 2016, up .56 percent from the previous year. Major contributors to that figure include hotel tax (53.4 percent) and property tax (22.1 percent).

On a per capita basis, visitors spent $10,677 per San Francisco household. Visitors generated $838 in taxes per San Francisco resident.

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 partnership-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 80,200 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 service by 41 international carriers serving 49 international cities and connects non-stop with 83 cities in the U.S. on 13 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 Follow SFO on and

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

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U.S. Travel Association Media Contact:
Cathy Reynolds
Manager, Media Relations and Lead Manager, IPW Press Operations

Notes to editors:
Slides from the event are available at These slides may not reproduced in any media.
Photos and press releases are available at
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