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San Francisco welcomed 18.01 million visitors in 2014, a record-high for the city and a 6.5% increase over the previous year.
This was the first year San Francisco Travel tracked the number of visitors staying in peer-to-peer accommodations such as Airbnb. This is a rarity by destination marketing organizations as they decide how to balance their support for traditional hotels and newer home-sharing sites. Last year 130,000 (only 0.7% of visitors) travelers stayed in peer-to-peer accommodations.
Visitors to the city spent $10.67 billion in 2014, a 13.7% increase year-over-year which equated to about $29.23 million in spending on a daily basis including for meetings and conventions.
In 2014 San Francisco Travel also booked 41 conventions between 2014 and 2019 at the Moscone Center, the largest convention and exhibition venue in the city. The organization estimates these conventions will fill more than 939,000 hotel room nights during the next four years and generate more than $679 million in spending.
“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,” said Joe D’Alessandro, San Francisco Travel president and CEO, in a statement. “Since 2009, international visitor spending in San Francisco has grown 71%. In the same time frame, domestic spending grew 25%.”
Many of these conventions will have international scopes which the city expects will help continue the growth of its foreign visitation. Last year an estimated 4.1 million international visitors arrived in the city, much lower than other large cities like New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. San Francisco Travel expects its Chinese visitor market to grow by 20% during the next three years and recently launched a separate site in traditional and simplified Chinese and will also roll out other sites in Korean, Japanese and Spanish, etc by June 2015.