San Francisco Travel Manifesto

Why do people visit San Francisco?

The sights and scenery. The one-of-a-kind events and world-class food. The welcoming people, the diversity and rich history...

But perhaps, more importantly, it has to do with the fact that no other city is as adept at combining disparate elements to create something new: taking the familiar and marrying it to the unknown; merging people’s expectations to moments of unpredictability; uniting long-held notions with startling innovations.

Clearly, the attraction of San Francisco is not any one thing, but the combination of many different things.
As an organization, we see the city in its entirety—through the eyes of the people who live here, the people who love it and the people who love to come here.

And as proud as we are to help people arrange their visits to San Francisco, we see our mission in even broader scope:

We believe our true value lies not just in our ability to sell our city, but in our role as curators of the most interesting 49 square miles on the planet.

We are the San Francisco Travel Association. And we are the window into the City by the Bay.


To ensure that San Francisco is the most compelling destination in the world.


To enhance the local  economy by marketing San Francisco and the Bay Area as the premier destination for conventions, meetings, events and leisure travel.


San Francisco Travel's organizational values are:


We will strive to perform at our highest levels at all times with a commitment to giving our personal best at all times. We will uphold our goals and values and conduct all business with honesty and integrity.


We will foster a work environment that values and encourages communication and openness, diversity, individual contribution and positive attitudes.


We will be a fertile environment for creativity, innovation and teamwork. We will keep the San Francisco Travel Association at the forefront of the industry, as befits one of the world's most creative cities.


We will value our members, stakeholders, clients and most of all, each other, by being respectful, appreciative and willing to learn.

Be Accountable

We will be accountable to our goals, each other and fiscally accountable to our stakeholders.

Organization History

For more than 100 years the San Francisco Travel Association has worked on behalf of its partners to promote San Francisco as the destination of choice for conventions and leisure travel. The Association is an outgrowth of the San Francisco Convention and Tourist League, a non-profit, local business association founded in 1909 to reclaim the City's position as a world-class destination in the wake of the devastating 1906 earthquake and fire.

San Francisco Travel continues that mission today, aggressively marketing and selling San Francisco to attract visitors. San Francisco Travel is a private, not-for-profit, 501(c)6 membership organization, headed by a Board of Directors made up of 45  business leaders from various companies, elected by the membership. Additionally, in 2003, the Association established a 501(c)3 foundation to raise scholarship funds for students enrolled in local hospitality management programs and to produce educational programs.

In 2012, San Francisco hosted more than 16.5 million visitors who spent more than $8.93 billion during their stay--that's more than $24.46 million a day. That makes tourism one of our most important industries.

Here's why:

•    Visitor dollars spent here generated over $562 million in taxes and fees that support The City's general budget, health and safety, arts and cultural organizations, recreational facilities and low-income

•    Visitor dollars supported more than 74,000 jobs in the hospitality and tourism industries. That's about $2.18 billion in local payroll (excluding tips).

•    If visitors disappeared, every resident would have to spend more than $10,000 to replace their economic impact.

Largest Destination Marketing Organization Worldwide

Some 1,500 Bay Area businesses are San Francisco Travel partners, making our partnership base one of the largest of any convention and visitors bureau worldwide. Partners also make San Francisco Travel one of the largest and strongest business associations in San Francisco. Partner companies collaborate with the organization to sell San Francisco as a destination for individual travelers, groups, domestic and international association and corporate meetings — efforts that help make San Francisco a vibrant place to do business.

San Francisco Travel Partnership
Nearly every San Francisco business, large and small, benefits from the traffic and spending of tourists and convention-goers. Hotels, restaurants, retail shops, tour and transportation companies, attractions, and other companies that have a large stake in the visitor market leverage the strength of their partnership to reach these customers.

Partners are provided exclusive programs and services for maximizing their marketing, networking, relationship and educational development enabling them to capture a larger share of the visitor market.

San Francisco Travel Funding

Our work to attract conventions and visitors is made possible through both public and private sector support. About 29 percent of our $26.2 million 2012-2013 operating budget comes from the private sector in the form of membership dues, advertising, e-commerce and program revenues. 64 percent of the budget comes from a small portion of the revenue generated by the assessment on San Francisco hotel rooms (see for additional information.) The balance comes through contracts with Grants for the Arts and the San Francisco International Airport.

San Francisco Travel's Efforts Impact Entire Bay Area

The impact of visitors to San Francisco reaches far beyond the City itself. While the majority of San Francisco Travel's partner-businesses operate within the boundaries of the City, a third are located outside of San Francisco. These businesses recognize that attracting visitors to the City also generates tourism expenditures in their communities. Here are some visitor statistics that demonstrate the broad impact of the City's visitor industry:

    •    More than 5.4 million overnight visitors stayed in commercial accommodations in 2012. Add in "day trippers" and those who stayed with friends or relatives, or in surrounding communities, and the total jumps to 16.5 million visitors a year.
    •    27 percent of visitors to San Francisco live within a day's drive of the City. That's 4.4 million leisure visitors from our own region.
    •    Thousands of visitors to the City take day trips beyond city limits or extend their visit throughout Northern California by taking side trips to other area locales and attractions.
    ◦    14 percent visit Sausalito.
    ◦    23 percent visit the wine country.
    ◦    9.5 percent visit the Monterey peninsula.

Executive Team

Joe D'Alessandro
President & CEO

Paul Frentsos
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

Tom Kiely
Executive Vice President, Tourism

Howard Pickett
Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer

John Reyes
Executive Vice President & Chief Customer Officer

Tina Wu
Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

View a complete listing of San Francisco Travel staff.

General Department Emails

    •    Media Relations:
    •    Partner Development:
    •    Membership Services:
    •    Convention Sales:
    •    Convention Services:
    •    Marketing:
    •    Tourism:
    •    Administrative Services:

San Francisco Travel Locations

Business Office
201 Third Street, Suite 900
San Francisco, CA 94103-3185
Voice: 415-974-6900
Fax: 415-227-2602
Ask about partnership opportunities.

Visitor Information Services
900 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94102-2804
Voice: 415-391-2000
Fax: 415-362-7323

Convention Sales Office - Washington, D.C.
1730 M Street, NW, Ste. 807
Washington, D.C. 20036-4505
Voice: 202-466-4400
Fax: 202-452-8948

Convention Sales Office - Chicago
330 Neva Avenue
Glenview, IL  60025         
Voice: 773-728-7210
Fax: 773-728-7205