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San Francisco Travel Presents Tourism Forecast for 2017

Visitor Volume and Spending to See Positive Growth in Spite of Temporary Closure of Moscone North and South

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March 2, 2017 – The San Francisco Travel Association is forecasting a total of 25.6 million visitors to the city for 2017, up 1.8 percent over 25.2 million in 2016.  Total spending by visitors is projected to reach $9.22 billion, up 2.7 percent over $8.98 billion in 2016.  

The new projections were announced today at San Francisco Travel’s Marketing Conference at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco.   

“Our latest forecasts are positive overall but we have to keep in mind that there are some challenges ahead,” said San Francisco Travel President and CEO Joe D’Alessandro.  “In each situation, we have developed strategies to address the challenges on which we can have an impact but some issues are still developing and we don’t know the extent that they will affect tourism in San Francisco.”

“For example, two thirds of our convention center will be closed for expansion construction from April to September.   Though we are working with the hotels and other venues to book self-contained meetings, we are still forecasting a decrease in some meetings-related spending for the year,” D’Alessandro said. 

“However, while meetings related spending is forecasted to decrease and will primarily impact hotel revenues and taxes, overall visitor volume and spending should see positive growth,” he added. 

“Internationally, the U.S. dollar is strong in some key markets such as the United Kingdom, Europe and Canada, which may make travelers more budget-conscious than usual,” D’Alessandro said.  “Also, our country’s reputation has taken some blows due to the recent executive order on immigration.  Though we don’t know what the administration’s next steps will be or what impact it will have, this has the potential to dissuade people who are ‘on the fence’ about visiting the U.S.  This is why international volume is forecasted to grow at only 0.3 percent in 2017. The majority of 2017’s visitor’s volume and spending growth is really stemming from the domestic traveler as short-term budget cuts may increase personal household income and temporarily spur an increase in domestic travel. That said, international overnight visitors will continue to generate the lion’s share of all visitor spending. 

Overnight visitor spending is forecasted to represent 86.8 percent of all visitor spending.  Overnight visitors should comprise 41.1 percent of the total, or 10.5 million people, and are projected to spend $8 billion.  This is an increase of 2.6 percent over $7.8 billion in 2016.   

Day visitors should total 15.1 million or 58.9 percent of the total and are forecasted to spend $1.22 billion. This is an increase of 3.4 percent over $1.18 billion in 2016.   Day visitors should account for 13.2 percent of all visitor spending. 

International visitors are expected to account for 53.1 percent of all visitor spending and 61.2 percent of all overnight visitor spending in 2017.  They are projected to spend $4.9 billion, up two percent over $4.8 billion in 2016.

San Francisco Travel expects to welcome 2.9 million international visitors, an increase of 0.3 percent over 2016.  International visitors should comprise 27.5 percent of all overnight visitors and 11.3 percent of visitors in total. 

The largest overseas market will continue to be China with 526,090 visitors projected.  This will be a 9.58 percent increase over 2016, which was up 11.36 percent above 2015.

The second largest overseas market, the United Kingdom, is forecasted to send 341,770 visitors, down 5.1 percent from 2016 due to economic variables in the U.K.  Visitation from Germany, the third largest overseas market, should remain relatively the same as the previous year with 264,340 visitors in 2017.

It’s expected that the fastest growing overseas markets for 2017 will be China (9.58 percent), India (6.93 percent) and South Korea (6.76 percent).

The figures for 2016 have been adjusted slightly since they were first released in January 2017 as additional information was received.

Spending directly related to meetings and conventions in San Francisco represented $1.97 million in 2016 and is forecasted to reach $1.85 million in 2017, a decrease of six percent, due to the closure of Moscone North and South from April to September, 2017 for expansion.  Moscone West will remain open and operating. 

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

Visitor spending equated to $24.6 million daily or one million dollars per hour.

The tourism industry generated more than $724.9 million in taxes and fees for the City of San Francisco, 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 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 www.sftravel.com.  

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 www.flysfo.com. Follow SFO on www.twitter.com/flysfo and www.facebook.com/flysfo.

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

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