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Welcome Ambassador Program Celebrates Its First Anniversary

The occasion was marked with accolades and an important program extension.

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(San Francisco) Nov. 2, 2022 – San Francisco’s Welcome Ambassadors have been called rockstars, the orange people, and San Francisco treasures. In just one year, the orange-jacketed ambassadors have greeted over four million visitors, residents and commuters and provided them with directions, tourist recommendations and other acts of hospitality. 

The SF Welcome Ambassador Program officially launched in October 2021, with 20 ambassadors deployed in popular areas such as the Embarcadero, Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, North Beach, Union Square, Market Street, Moscone Center, SOMA and Cable Car turnarounds. Today, there are 92 Welcome Ambassadors and up to 42 ambassadors working in program areas during peak times and assisting with special events such as conventions, festivals and cruise ship arrivals. The ambassadors are deployed seven days a week between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. 

“The Welcome Ambassador Program has successfully achieved its mission to create a warm and welcoming experience for visitors and commuters. It’s also been a resounding success with meeting planners and crucial in helping bring back conventions to San Francisco,” said San Francisco Travel Association President and CEO Joe D’Alessandro.  “I want to thank our ambassadors for all they do. We’ve received wonderful feedback from visitors, local businesses and industry partners on their great work.” 

Last month, the SF Welcome Ambassador Program received CalTravel’s 2022 Visitor Experience Award. CalTravel Awards recognize individuals and organizations whose leadership efforts have significantly impacted California’s travel and tourism industry by consistently ensuring high-quality guest services and unique experiences and elevating the California brand.

Feedback on the program from visitors and residents has also been enthusiastic. 

Australian visitors Imma and George sent a rave review: “This is a great program that we have yet to see in our travels through New York City and Las Vegas. For people who are new to the area, such as ourselves being tourists who have never visited the USA, a program such as the Welcome Ambassadors is invaluable!”

“As a long-time resident of SF myself, I'm grateful for people like [Welcome Ambassador] Robert that help us elevate our city's reputation as a warm and welcoming place,” wrote San Francisco resident John. 

Tara, from West Palm Beach, Fla., wrote: “I have Google maps on my phone, but you really can’t beat a nice, friendly human! It’s making a big difference to my experience here.”

Visitors Roya and Neda shared, “You know when you go to a new city for the very first time, the way you remember that place stays with you forever. On our trip to San Francisco, we met one of your amazing people who guided us through the journey and that was a one-of-a-kind experience. Chris is the most amazing person for your organization, and we didn’t know how to say thank you to him. Please let him know that we will always remember San Francisco by his name.” 

Funded and supported by San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed and managed by the San Francisco Tourism Improvement District in partnership with San Francisco Travel, the two-year SF Welcome Ambassador program was extended for a third year (FY 2023/2024) through a June vote by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors.

Additionally, in late October, Mayor Breed announced further expansion of community ambassadors and civilian police department personnel this year. The expansion will add 50 more SF Welcome Ambassadors as well as up to 100 new ambassadors and attendants for the Mid-Market/Tenderloin Safety Ambassadors, BART service attendants and San Francisco Police Department Community Ambassadors programs. The new ambassador and attendant deployment will expand coverage in and around the Downtown area, including at BART and Muni Metro Stations and city-operated parking garages, as well as in city neighborhoods, including the Mission. 

The expansion of the City’s community ambassador programs will further support San Francisco’s economic recovery and rebounding tourism numbers.

In Q3 2022, San Francisco recorded its best tourism quarter since the pandemic started. The San Francisco/San Mateo, CA market achieved 70.5% occupancy and an average daily rate (ADR) of $230.47 in Q3. This compares to Q2’s occupancy of 67.9% and ADR of $221.81. 

San Francisco/San Mateo, CA’s ranking among the top 25 U.S. hotel markets improved from 22nd in Q1 to 12th in Q3, and the market recorded the fifth-highest ADR. Six events held at Moscone Center, including Dreamforce, helped drive Q3’s positive performance. The events contributed an estimated 117,000 room nights and $77.8 million in direct spending by attendees and organizers. 

SF Welcome Ambassador Program: One Year In Numbers

  • Public Greetings: 4,213,303
  • Directions Provided: 259,373
  • Attraction/Museum Info Provided: 101,548
  • Business Information Provided: 57,355
  • Photo Assistance Provided: 56,393
  • Hospitality Escort: 22,345
  • Positive Neighbor Engagement: 19,304
  • Restaurant Recommendation: 13,942
  • Collateral Provided: 12,353
  • Event Information Provided: 5,547
  • Welcome Ambassador Program Information Provided: 4,008
  • Welfare Checks: 2,895 

SAN FRANCISCO TRAVEL ASSOCIATION

The San Francisco Travel Association is the official destination marketing organization for the City and County of San Francisco. Tourism is San Francisco's largest industry. More than 26 million people visited the destination in 2019, spending $9.6 billion. More than 86,000 jobs are supported by tourism in San Francisco.

For information on reservations, activities and more, visit www.sftravel.com. Follow SF Travel on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Please use hashtags #sftravel and #AlwaysSF. 

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT 

SFO is excited to welcome travelers back to the skies with an airport experience featuring seamless access, thoughtful amenities, sustainable design and inspiring artwork and exhibits. 

For up-to-the-minute departure and arrival information, airport maps and details on shopping, dining, cultural exhibitions, ground transportation, masks and COVID-related protocols and more, visit https://www.flysfo.com/. Follow us on twitter.com/flysfo and facebook.com/flysfo

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

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