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San Francisco welcomed nearly 2.9 million overseas visitors in 2011

The San Francisco Travel Association, the official tourism marketing organization for the City and County of San Francisco, announced that the city welcomed 2,872,000 international visitors in 2011, an increase of nearly 10 percent over 2010 and a nearly 30 percent increase over 2009.

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June 25, 2012 — The San Francisco Travel Association, the official tourism marketing organization for the City and County of San Francisco, announced that the city welcomed 2,872,000 international visitors in 2011, an increase of nearly 10 percent over 2010 and a nearly 30 percent increase over 2009.

In June 2012, the Office of Travel and Tourism Industries (OTTI) released the international visitation numbers for San Francisco which showed a significant increase in both market share and visitor volume from previous years.

Europe continues to be the largest overseas market for San Francisco, with nearly 1.5 million visitors in 2011, representing an 11.6 percent market share and an increase of nearly 17 percent over 2010. In Europe, the United Kingdom remains the number one market for San Francisco, with more than 300,000 visitors in 2011, a nine percent increase over 2010. Germany is a close second with 275,000 visitors in 2011, representing an 8.5 percent increase over 2010. The third largest European market is France with 265,000 visitors in 2011, an eight percent increase from 2010.

In May 2012, XL Airways France launched new twice-weekly direct air service into San Francisco International Airport (SFO) from Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG), which should positively impact the number of visitors from France in 2012 and beyond. For additional information on this new air service into SFO, which will continue through Sept. 8, 2012, visit www.flysfo.com.

Asia is the second largest overseas market for San Francisco, representing more than 800,000 visitors in 2011. Nearly a quarter of these visitors came from China, which represents an 18.2 percent market share for San Francisco.

Oceania is the third largest overseas market for San Francisco. In 2011, San Francisco welcomed 228,000 visitors from Australia, representing a 22 percent market share.

The fourth largest overseas market for San Francisco is South America, with 169,000 visitors in 2011, an increase of nearly 45 percent over 2010. Brazil is the largest South American market for San Francisco, which welcomed 94,000 visitors in 2011, an increase of 50 percent over 2010.

“The continued growth in the overseas market is a positive sign that our economy is improving and that San Francisco continues to be a desirable destination for both business and leisure travelers,” said Joe D'Alessandro, San Francisco Travel president and CEO. “We are extremely fortunate to have been the host city for the U.S. Open in June of this year and look forward to welcoming the America’s Cup World Series later this summer and the America’s Cup in 2013, which will attract even more visitors to San Francisco.”

The new America's Cup World Series, featuring all of the America's Cup competitors, will be held in San Francisco Aug. 21–26 and Oct. 4–7, followed by the Louis Vuitton Cup July 4–Sept. 1, 2013, finishing with the America's Cup Finals Sept. 7-22, 2013.

The international market represents nearly 20 percent of San Francisco’s total visitors, which was 16.35 million 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 Tourism team at San Francisco Travel works very closely with San Francisco International Airport to promote San Francisco internationally as one of the most appealing destinations in the world,” said Tom Kiely, executive vice president, Tourism for San Francisco Travel. “We are confident that these international marketing efforts, which include an aggressive travel schedule to maintain and develop relationships with new and existing airlines and tour operators, as well as international media, will result in continued growth of overseas visitors to San Francisco.”

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).

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