San Francisco Travel Reports Record-Breaking Year for Tourism

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Total Visitor Volume Tops 24.6 Million; Visitor Spending Exceeds $9.3 Billion

The San Francisco Travel Association reported today that San Francisco welcomed a total of 24.6 million visitors in 2015, an increase of 2.7 percent from 2014. This included 18.9 leisure visitors (up 2.7 percent from 2014) and 5.8 million business travelers in 2015 (also up 2.7% from 2014).

In 2015, the 24.6 million visitors brought $9.3 billion in spending to San Francisco. Visitors directly spent $8.5 billion in the city, up 3.4 percent from the previous year. An additional $723 million was spent by meeting planners and exhibitors for goods and services for their meetings. For the year, total spending in San Francisco related to meetings and conventions reached $2 billion.

The number of jobs supported by tourism rose 1 percent to 76,520 jobs in 2015, with an annual payroll of $2.3 billion.

The tourism industry generated $738 million in taxes and fees for the City of San Francisco, up 12.8 percent from the previous year. Major contributors to that figure include hotel tax (54.7 percent) and property tax (23.4 percent)

Visitor spending equated to $25.4 million daily or $1.1 million per hour.

On a per capita basis, visitors spent $10,951 per San Franciscan. Visitors generated $2,025 in taxes per San Francisco household.

Of the 24.6 million people who visited the city last year, 10.183 million were overnight visitors and spent $7.4 billion dollars. International overnight visitors totaled 2.85 million and spent $4.65 billion, which represented 63 percent of all overnight spending. Overnight visitors from the United States totaled 7.33 million and spent $2.76 billion, representing 37 percent of all overnight guest spending. Sixty-two percent of all overnight guests stayed in hotels in the San Francisco.

San Francisco Travel has developed a new research model using internal data and curated research in conjunction with Tourism Economics. Several years of lodging data was curated by San Francisco Travel using research from STR (formerly Smith Travel Research) and PKF Consulting. Data for flight volume was provided by OAG (formerly Official Aviation Guide) and San Francisco International Airport. Domestic visitor data was collected by Longwoods. International visitor data by country came from Tourism Economics’ Global City Travel database and global visitor surveys by Destination Analysts as well as tax and household data. Group sales statistics were drawn from USI, San Francisco Travel’s CRM (customer relationship management) platform.

San Francisco Travel used their new model to revise data going back to 2008 to ensure consistency going forward.

The above data pertains only to visitors to San Francisco. For the first time, San Francisco Travel’s research also includes the city of San Francisco and Bay Area regional markets including Marin County, the Peninsula and San Francisco International Airport.

The Port of San Francisco hosted 82 ship calls and 297,504 passengers in 2015. In addition to passengers, each ship has approximately 1,000 crew members. This is a record number of passengers, breaking the previous high mark of 256,410 set in 2014. Based on passenger, crew, and ship expenditures, the overall economic impact to the Bay Area of a cruise ship call in San Francisco is approximately $1 million.

In 2015, San Francisco Travel booked 44 conventions at Moscone Center, which will fill 1,153,258 hotel room nights between 2015 and 2032. Their attendees and exhibitors will spend an estimated $1,001,190,532.

“These record-breaking numbers once again prove that tourism is the most important industry in San Francisco. The 24.6 million visitors and $9.3 billion in spending create jobs and support services for people throughout the city and the entire Bay Area,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of San Francisco Travel. “We are experiencing sustained growth in all market segments – domestic, international, leisure and business – as a result of our highly professional and sophisticated community of hotels, restaurants, cultural organizations and SFO, one of the finest airports in the world,” he added.

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 1,500 partner businesses, San Francisco Travel is one of the largest membership-based tourism promotion agencies in the country.

The San Francisco Travel business offices are located at One Front St., Suite 2900, San Francisco, CA 94111.

San Francisco Travel also operates Visitor Information Centers at Hallidie Plaza, 900 Market Street at the corner of Powell and Market streets and on the lower level of Macy’s Union Square. For more information, visit http://www.sanfrancisco.travel.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) offers non-stop flights to more than 39 international cities on 33 international carriers. The Bay Area's largest airport connects non-stop with 77 cities in the U.S. on 14 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 http://www.flysfo.com. Follow SFO on http://www.twitter.com/flysfo and http://www.facebook.com/flysfo.

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

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Laurie Armstrong
San Francisco Travel Association
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