San Francisco Travel Association Announces 2023 Visitor Impact Results and 2024 Forecast

The San Francisco Travel Association, the official destination marketing organisation for the City and County of San Francisco, conducted its annual marketing conference yesterday at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. At the event, the organisation revealed the results of its 2023 visitor impact study as well as an updated 2024 prediction. Moreover, presentations and panel discussions on AI, along with other cutting-edge projects and technologies influencing destination sales and marketing as well as guest experiences, were included in the conference.

In 2023, San Francisco welcomed 23.1 million tourists, a 5.2% rise over the previous year. Spending by tourists increased by 18% to $8.8 billion. The total amount spent by visitors in 2023—which includes $494.6 million for exhibitors and conference planners—rose to $9.3 billion, a 20% rise.

Lodging growth was driven by a robust convention year that was highlighted by international events such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit and Dreamforce. 618,298 hotel room nights were related to attendees attending conventions at the Moscone Centre, an increase of 82.6% from 2022. In 2023, Moscone Centre held 34 events, as opposed to 33 in the previous year.

Hotel occupancy increased by 3.2% on average to 64.2%. At $243.80, the average day rate (ADR) increased 7.2% from the previous year. At $156.43, revenue per available room, or RevPAR, increased by 10.6%. The city’s tax revenue from tourism was $609.6 million, up more than $87 million from 2022 to 2023. The tourism economy also helped support over 63,000 jobs in San Francisco, up 18%. In Q3 2023, the tourism and hospitality industry in San Francisco was the second-largest employer, according to the Bureau of Labour Statistics.

“San Francisco’s efforts to revive its tourism industry are moving along steadily.” Scott Beck, President and CEO of San Francisco Travel, stated, “Although 2023 put us on the right track with increased visitation and visitor spending, we still have ground to cover before the full impact of visitors reaches pre-pandemic levels. Given its impact on San Francisco’s economy throughout the entire city, bringing in additional conventions and events is a top priority for SF Travel.”

Mayor London Breed praised San Francisco, saying, “It’s a thriving city with some of the best food and hospitality in the world, parks and open spaces, and vibrant neighbourhoods. We are happy to see more tourists return to our city, and we are becoming stronger every day, but we still have work to do. We will keep working tirelessly to make San Francisco a friendly, secure, and fascinating city for tourists, employees, and locals alike.”

With a 26% increase in 2023, foreign travel remained a major factor in San Francisco’s tourism rebound. $4.64 billion in tourist spending came from more than two million international visitors.

The most recent Oxford Economics data for San Francisco and San Mateo counties for 2023 shows that the number of visitors from China, South Korea, and Japan more than doubled. For the first time since 2019, China has emerged as the largest international visitor market in San Francisco and San Mateo counties, contributing $633.4 million. China, India, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Canada were the top five international visitor spending markets in 2023; similarly, the top five visitor volume destinations were Mexico, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and India.

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