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Record-Breaking Economic Impact in 2014

San Francisco visitor volume tops 18 Million; visitor spending exceeds $10.67 billion

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March 31, 2015 – The San Francisco Travel Association reported today that San Francisco welcomed 18.01 million visitors in 2014, an increase of 6.5 percent from 2013. These visitors spent $10.67 billion in 2014, up 13.7 percent from the previous year.  The data was presented during the 10th annual Visitor Industry Outlook & Marketing Conference today at the Marines’ Memorial Club and Hotel.    

“The growth of San Francisco’s visitor industry continued to break records in 2014,” said Joe D'Alessandro, San Francisco Travel president and CEO.  “Both visitor spending and the total number of visitors have reached the highest levels ever.”

The tourism industry generated $665 million in taxes for the City of San Francisco, up eight percent from the previous year.  The number of jobs supported by tourism rose 13.2 percent to 87,005 jobs in 2014, with an annual payroll of $2.67 billion, an increase of 15.9 percent.

In 2014, there was an average of 150,412 visitors in San Francisco each day.  Visitor spending equated to $29.23 million daily (including spending related to meetings and conventions).

San Francisco Travel also reported that 130,000 people stayed in peer-to-peer lodging such as Airbnb.  Cruise ships saw 260,000 passengers embark and debark in San Francisco.   These market segments had not been tracked previously.

In 2014, San Francisco Travel booked 41 conventions at Moscone Center, which will fill 939,115 hotel room nights between 2014 and 2029. Their attendees and exhibitors will spend an estimated $679,172,475.

“While domestic leisure, business and convention travel continue to expand, most of the industry's growth in recent years has been in the international sector.  Since 2009, international visitor spending in San Francisco has grown 71 percent.  In the same time frame, domestic spending grew 25 percent,” D’Alessandro continued.  “We estimate that San Francisco had 4.1 million international visitors in 2014, about 31 percent of our visitors from outside the Bay Area (or 22.8 percent of all visitors).  They spent $3.4 billion, or 34 percent of the total spent by all visitors.”

To address San Francisco’s global appeal and opportunities for new visitation from abroad, San Francisco Travel recently launched a version of its website in Portuguese to reach the fast-growing Brazil market.

The Chinese visitor market is expected to grow by 20 percent in the next three years.  San Francisco recently launched websites in traditional and simplified Chinese in partnership with Brand USA.  

Additional website sites in Spanish, Italian, Japanese, German, French and Korean will be launched by June of 2015.

“The year ahead holds significant opportunities for San Francisco to keep up the pace,” D’Alessandro said.  “We will showcase the city’s appeal for conventions and events to Meeting Professional International’s World Education Congress in August.  And next February, we will invite the world to join us for Super Bowl 50 with the game at the new Levi’s Stadium and the NFL Experience, Fan Village and other events in San Francisco.” 

San Francisco Travel continues to expand use of its marketing theme, “Never the same.  Always San Francisco.”   The messaging connects the spirit and iconic appeal of a visit to San Francisco, with the promise of a constantly-changing experience that comes from the new shows, events, attractions, shopping and dining adventures in this ever-evolving destination.  Since the majority of visitors have been to San Francisco before, the theme emphasizes the fact that every visit will hold something new while still providing the same emotional experience that people love. 

In October, San Francisco Travel re-launched its website, www.sanfrancisco.travel, with a bold new design, large, dramatic photos and streamlined navigation that allows visitors to easily explore, plan and search for their exact needs and interests. The new site provides tools to help visitors at every stage of their planning process, from dreaming to arriving.