Record-Breaking Year for San Francisco Tourism

San Francisco tourism reached record numbers in 2015, welcoming a total of 24.6 million visitors for an increase of 2.7 percent from 2014.  Leisure visitors and business visitors also rose 2.7 percent, with 18.9 and 5.8 million, respectively.

Tourism accounted for $9.3 billion in spending, according to San Francisco Travel.  Visitors spent $8.5 billion for an increase of 3.4 percent over 2014. An additional $723 million was spent by meeting planners and exhibitors for goods and services for their events, with related to meetings and conventions bringing in $2 billion.

The role San Francisco tourism plays in the region is staggering. The number of jobs supported by San Francisco tourism rose slightly to 76,520, with an annual payroll of $2.3 billion.

“These record-breaking numbers once again prove that tourism is the most important industry in San Francisco,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of San Francisco Travel. “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. 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 San Francisco International Airport, one of the finest airports in the world.”

San Francisco Travel had a great year in 2015 regarding conventions. It booked 44 conventions slated to meet at Moscone Center between 2015 and 2032. Estimates put the hotel room night at 1,153,258. Attendees and exhibitors are expected to spend an estimated $1,001,190,532.

Another major source of revenue is the Port of San Francisco, which hosted 82 ship calls and 297,504 passengers in 2015. It was a record for ship passengers, eclipsing the previous best of 256,410 set in 2014.  Besides passengers, each ship has approximately 1,000 crew members.

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.

Source: 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.


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