Monday, May 29, 2006

Reality check: SF economy and tourism

It's telling that the recent article on tourism and the SF economy (Tourism Dollars Add Up, SF Chronicle, George Raine, May 13, 2006) has not been discussed on local chat boards or blogs. What it tells me is that the local political community---especially progressives---are in denial about what our local economy is really about, which is tourism.

Raines lays it out for us:

* SF is the number one travel destination in the US, according to a poll in Conde Nast's Traveler Magazine.

* SF drew 15.74 million visitors last year, and they spent $7.37 billion here.

* In spite of the hotel strike, the occupancy rate in city hotels was 76.4% (after the dotcom bust and 9/11, the occupancy rate shrunk to 65.4%).

* Taxes and fees generated by tourism brought in $418 million for SF in 2005.

* 66,315 jobs in SF are directly related to tourism, a total payroll of $1.8 billion. 55% of those workers live in the city.