San Francisco Travel expects to see Asian inbound visitation grow further in 2024 following last week’s announcements that China had lifted restrictions on group tours to the U.S. and weekly flights between China and the U.S. will double starting in September. United Airlines announced plans to relaunch service from SFO to Beijing in November and increase service to Shanghai in October with daily nonstops from SFO. In 2019, 518,000 visitors from China accounted for $1.2 billion in visitor spending in San Francisco and the Peninsula.
Continued growth in international and domestic leisure and business travel will drive San Francisco’s ongoing tourism recovery in 2024. Visitor volume is expected to reach 24.3 million, with 2.3 million international visitors forecast to contribute $4.8 billion of the anticipated $9.4 billion in total visitor spending. Moscone Center is slated to host 21 events accounting for 426,951 hotel room nights, down 34% compared to 2023.
“Since 2019, we’ve been reporting 2024 would be a more challenging year for conventions given some cancellations and it being an off year for rotational events. But every year after 2024 shows steady growth in conventions, with 2028 and beyond trending to be above 90% of the average,” said D’Alessandro.
To attract more events to Moscone Center in future years, San Francisco Travel is leveraging the existing Moscone Recovery Fund and the 0.25% TID increase that goes into effect in 2024. The TID increase will build an $8 to $10 million incentive fund to attract and retain business at Moscone Center through 2038.
So far this year, San Francisco Travel’s Convention Sales team has confirmed 16 events at Moscone Center, ranging from the 2024 Visa Payments Forum (to be held in the city for the first time) to the 2026 Super Bowl LX & NFL Experience. In addition, over 500 self-contained meetings and events have been booked year-to-date. These shorter-lead meetings will take place at hotels and event venues in the Bay Area, primarily in 2023 and 2024 in San Francisco. The 2024 lodging outlook projects a hotel occupancy of 68.1% and an ADR of $252.59. RevPAR is expected to increase by 4.7% to $172.04.
The Visitor & Lodging Forecast projects visitor spending will exceed 2019’s record high of $9.6 billion in 2025 and visitor volume will be just shy of 2019’s 26.2 million by the end of 2026. Presented by Expedia, the Visitor Impact Summit was made possible with support from sponsors, including the Fairmont San Francisco; J.P. Morgan Wealth Management; Miles Partnership; Encore; Headshots and the San Francisco Business Times.
San Francisco Travel
The San Francisco Travel Association is the official destination marketing organization for the City and County of San Francisco. The city is one of the top tourism and meetings destinations in the U.S. and received 21.9 million visitors in 2022. Total tourism spending in 2022 exceeded $7.7 billion. The tourism industry is the largest generator of outside revenue into San Francisco’s economy and supports over 53,000 jobs.
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The Hotel Council of San Francisco
The Hotel Council of San Francisco is a non-profit membership-based organization advocating for the economic and social vitality of the hospitality industry in San Francisco. Their membership roster includes over 200 hotels, allied members, and partner organizations. The Hotel Council is dedicated to protecting the San Francisco hospitality industry and connecting its members to support the growth and success of the industry.
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