33 million and counting…

The 2013 tourism numbers are in, and for the first time ever, the number of visitors to San Diego County surpassed 33 million showing the strength of the San Diego brand. As the second largest traded industry, supplying more than 165,000 jobs, these numbers are important to know and share. Overall, the economic impact to San Diego from visitor spending was $18.7 billion and total taxes generated were an estimated $410 million.

Here are some key insights from our year-end report.

  • A reversal from the last three years, day visitors (16.7 million) surpassed overnight visitors (16.4 million) in 2013, seeing growth of 3.4% and 1.8% respectively.
  • Visitors staying in hotels grew 3.1% to 8.9 million of the overnight visitors, while 6.6 million stayed with friends and family, representing a slight decline (-0.2%).
  • The hotel visitor has the largest economic impact on the region, and is responsible for spending $5.5 billion locally in 2013. They spent on average $134.20 for their hotel rooms and occupied 71.6% of the 21 million available room nights.
  • Hotel visitors also generated $203 million in transient occupancy tax in the county, which is used to pay for resident public services such as police and fire.
  • San Diego occupancy growth finished the year up 1.5%, compared to Anaheim (up 2.6%) and San Francisco (up 3.3%).

Several marketing programs that we’ve developed are geared toward bringing more convention attendees and consumers to our destination.

  • This month, we launched a new certification program which provides our meeting industry with a unified voice for communicating to potential group sales clients. The program, “San Diego Meeting Certified,” is a series of educational seminars that will help to reinforce San Diego’s position as the No. 1 destination choice for meeting planners.
  • On the consumer side, we are in the midst of a digital advertising initiative, Guides to the Good Stuff, which is an extension of our current Happiness is Calling brand marketing campaign. The program is designed to give potential visitors an insider’s perspective on the San Diego lifestyle.

The 21st Annual San Diego Hospitality Industry Outlook will take place at the Town & Country Resort & Convention Center on May 7th. I look forward to joining an esteemed panel of experts on new innovations in technology and real estate in the hospitality industry. Join us for an informative event.

We look forward to seeing all of you at our annual meeting on March 27th at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, where we can share more about the exciting year ahead.

Joe Terzi

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