Aug 5, 2022 - Business

Summer tourism shows promise for San Francisco

June hotel occupancy rate in San Francisco
Data: San Francisco Travel Association; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Walking around Alamo Square Park in recent weeks and observing the endless selfies taken in front of the Painted Ladies, one can't help but wonder — is tourism on the rebound in San Francisco?

What's happening: Early indicators for this summer are promising.

  • June's hotel occupancy was nearly 75%, according to the San Francisco Travel Association.
  • That's below the pre-pandemic hotel occupancy rate of almost 87% in June 2019, but a sharp increase from the nearly 26% occupancy rate in June 2020 and roughly 43% rate last June.

What they're saying: "Summer travel is performing significantly better than we forecasted earlier this year," Hubertus Funke, the city's Travel Association's chief tourism officer, told us. "June was particularly strong with six conventions and a robust increase in leisure travelers."

Why it matters: Overall visitor spending in San Francisco was $10.3 billion in 2019, but fell to $2.8 billion in 2020 amid the pandemic.

  • This year, tourism spending is expected to total $6.1 billion, and by 2024, the SF Travel Association predicts it will return to 2019 levels.

What we're watching: Asia.

  • Funke told us San Francisco won’t see a full recovery to its tourism sector until "key Asian markets, particularly China," lift travel restrictions and return flight capacity to what it was before the pandemic.

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