Indians second highest spenders in San Francisco in 2023: SFTA

Golden City sees 23.1 million tourists & USD 8.8 bn in tourism receipts
/ New Delhi
Indians second highest spenders in San Francisco in 2023: SFTA

It says that tourism generated USD 609.6 million in tax revenue for the city

San Francisco City, in tandem with the San Francisco International Airport, noted positive visitor impact with the city receiving about 23.1 million tourists in 2023 while the airport served more than 50 million passengers.
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San Francisco received over 23.1 million tourists in 2023, a 5.2 pc increase from the previous year, says official destination marketing organisation San Francisco Travel Association (SFTA).

In a press statement, SFTA released its 2023 visitor impact results and an updated 2024 forecast. It says that the visitors spent USD 8.8 billion, an increase of 18 pc, and the top five markets were China, India, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Canada.

According to the report, total visitor-related spending in 2023, including USD 494.6 million in meeting planner and exhibitor spending, increased by 20 pc to USD 9.3 billion. 

It says that tourism generated USD 609.6 million in tax revenue for the city, an increase of more than USD 87 million compared to 2022. Significantly, the visitor economy also helped support nearly 63,000 jobs in San Francisco, up 18 pc. 

Notably, international visitation continued to be a key driver in San Francisco’s tourism recovery, growing by 26 pc in 2023. Over two million international visitors contributed USD 4.64 billion in visitor spending.

According to the most recent 2023 data provided by Oxford Economics for San Francisco and San Mateo counties, visitation from Japan, South Korea and China more than doubled. China consolidated its position as the top international market for visitor spend in San Francisco and San Mateo counties for the first time since 2019, contributing USD 633.4 million. 

SFTA says that the top five international markets for visitor spending in 2023 were China, India, the UK, Mexico, and Canada, and the top five for visitor volume were Mexico, the UK, Canada, Germany and India. 

A strong convention year 2023 marked by global events including Dreamforce and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit drove lodging gains, the statement adds. 

It says that hotel room nights attributed to delegates attending Moscone Centre conventions totalled 618,298, an 82.6 pc increase from 2022. Moscone Centre hosted 34 events in 2023, up from 33 the year prior. 

The statement adds that average hotel occupancy rose 3.2 pc to 64.2 pc while the average daily rate (ADR) was USD 243.80, up 7.2 pc year-over-year. Revenue per available room (RevPAR) rose 10.6 pc to USD 156.43.

Scott Beck

Scott Beck

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, leisure and hospitality industry was the second-largest source of employment in San Francisco in Q3 2023.

“San Francisco’s tourism recovery efforts continue to make steady progress. While 2023 had us on the right trajectory with increased visitation and visitor spending, we still have ground to cover before the full impact of visitors reaches pre-pandemic levels. Attracting more conventions and events to the city is a key focus for SF Travel given their citywide impact on San Francisco’s economy,” says Scott Beck, San Francisco Travel’s President and CEO.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

According to the report, the city’s international airport, SFO, served over 50 million passengers in 2023, up 18.7 pc from 2022. SFO added dozens of new and returning routes last year, including United Airlines launching its first non-stop service to Manila, Christchurch and Rome, Starlux Airlines launching non-stop service from Taipei and ITA Airways launching non-stop service from Rome. 

Additionally, SFO saw direct services from China resume with Air China, China Eastern Airlines, and China Southern Airlines flying from Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan, respectively. 

According to 2024 outlook, San Francisco Travel forecasts growth in visitation and overall visitor spending in 2024, driven primarily by increased leisure and business travel. Visitor volume is expected to reach 23.7 million, with 2.36 million international visitors forecast to contribute USD 5 billion of the anticipated USD 9.45 billion in 2024 visitor spending. 

The board says that hotel occupancy is forecast to reach 65 pc and ADR is projected to grow by 3.3 pc to USD 251.91 in 2024. Hotel RevPAR may increase by 4.7 pc to USD 163.82. 

It says that Moscone Centre is confirmed to host 25 events this year, accounting for more than 480,000 hotel room nights, with events such as the Game Developers Conference, RSA Conference, Dreamforce, and Data + AI Summit taking place this year.

The report says that visitor spending is expected to surpass 2019’s levels by 2025, while visitor volume is expected to reach 2019’s 26 million in 2026. 

The impact of San Francisco’s visitor economy is expected to be back in volume and spending by early 2027. SFO expects continued growth and projects it will service nearly 54 million passengers in 2024.

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