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San Francisco CVB Releases 2009 Tourism Figures; Visitors to San Francisco
Down 5.8%, Visitor Spending Down 7.8% from 2008

March 10, 2010 -- The San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau (SFCVB) has released its annual estimate of the economic impact of the tourism industry in San Francisco. 

In 2009, San Francisco welcomed 15.4 million visitors, a decrease of 5.8 percent from 2008. These visitors spent $7.8 billion in 2009, a decrease of 7.8 percent from the previous year.

Nationally, the US Travel Association forecasted a drop in total travel expenditures of 8.8 percent for 2009.

“This data is not unexpected but it’s especially disturbing in light of the importance of tourism to the economic health of San Francisco,” said Joe D'Alessandro, SFCVB president and CEO. "The global financial uncertainty has taken a toll on tourism in destinations across the country.  It’s all the more reason why we all must work smarter and harder to keep San Francisco the best that it can be for our visitors.”

The tourism industry generated over $426 million in taxes for the City of San Francisco, down 19.2 percent from the previous year. 

Tourism supported 66,837 jobs in 2009 with an annual payroll of $1.8 billion.

In 2009, there was an average of 125,407 visitors in San Francisco each day.  Visitor spending equated to 21.5 million daily.

To help boost hotel business, the SFCVB is "casting a wider net" for meeting and conventions that historically have not met in San Francisco due to perceived cost challenges.  With the current economic conditions in their favor, groups such as the California Travel Industry Association’s (CalTIA) Conference on Tourism - which is being held in San Francisco for the first time on June 7-9, 2010 - are finding San Francisco to be a great value for their meetings.  The Bureau sales team is also aggressively prospecting for short-term meetings to fill open dates at Moscone Center, as they did with Drupal Association, which will bring 2,500 attendees to the Drupalcon Annual Conference April 18-21. 

For the third year, the SFCVB is orchestrating a co-operative campaign with several major cultural venues to promote the "embarrassment of riches" in art exhibitions this summer.   Developed by the SFCVB, SFMOMA, the de Young, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, the Asian Art Museum and others will join in a print and online campaign to target "cultural travelers" in key feeder markets to San Francisco, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento and Portland/Seattle, and getaway packages to San Francisco will be awarded on major radio stations in each market.

In mid-April, the SFCVB will be launching a new campaign targeting gay and lesbian (LGBT) travelers, a key market segment for San Francisco.  A 2010 survey by Community Marketing, Inc., shows San Francisco to be the #2 overall destination in America for LGBT travelers.  The SFCVB launched its first LGBT targeted campaign in March 2007 and won an award for Best Cooperative Marketing Campaign from the California Travel & Tourism Commission. 

The new campaign includes print and online ads, as well a revamped microsite, Here Media was recently named official media sponsor of the 2010 campaign.

The San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau is a private, not-for-profit organization that markets the city as a leisure, convention and business travel destination.  With nearly 1,700 members, the SFCVB is one of the largest membership-based tourism promotion agencies in the country. Tourism, San Francisco's largest industry, generates in excess of $8.5 billion annually for the local economy. The SFCVB business offices are located at 201 Third St., Suite 900, San Francisco, CA 94103.  The Bureau also operates the Visitor Information Center at Hallidie Plaza, 900 Market Street at the corner of Powell and Market streets.  For more information, call 415-974-6900 or visit 

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) offers non-stop links with more than 30 international points on five continents with 29 international carriers. The Bay Area's largest airport connects non-stop with more than 65 cities in the U.S. on 20 domestic airlines.  For up-to-the-minute departure and arrival information, airport maps and details on shopping, dining, cultural exhibitions, ground transportation and more, visit 


Laurie Armstrong 
Vice President, Public Affairs
201 Third Street, Suite 900
San Francisco, CA  94103-3185
T  415.227.2615

Also See: San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau Reports Visitor Spending Up 3.3% for 2008 / May 2009

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