Visitors to Spend $9.9 Billion in San Diego Region in 2015
With 2016 just around the corner, tourism officials expect 2015 to break records across all measures of the San Diego tourism economy.
The region is on pace to surpass last year’s record-breaking totals in every key category, including the number of visitors to San Diego in 2015, the amount of hotel tax revenue generated and the amount of money visitors spent at local attractions, shops and restaurants. For the 2015 calendar year, the SDTA is projecting $9.9 billion dollars in visitor spending, 34.2 million visitors to the region and $266 million in transit occupancy tax contributions to San Diego County city governments.
“While San Diego has long been a popular travel destination, the region’s appeal to travelers from around the world continues to grow and strengthen,” said Joe Terzi, President and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority. “In ever-increasing numbers, visitors are taking notice of all that San Diego has to offer, from our iconic attractions and world-class museums to our diverse neighborhood experiences and our innovative spirit that creates a dynamic business climate.”
The record numbers close out a successful year for San Diego’s tourism sector. In July, the SDTA announced that convention bookings during fiscal year 2015 reached a 10-year high with 1 million room nights booked. In February, the SDTA released a new $8.9 million multi-platform advertising campaign, which included television, print, online and billboard advertising. 2015 also saw the expansion of San Diego’s international presence. Earlier this year, the SDTA retained marketing representation in Australia, complementing international marketing efforts already underway in the U.K., Germany, China, Japan, Mexico and Canada.
Also in 2015, San Diego was one of only four cities worldwide to be named a “World’s Smart City” by the National Geographic Channel (NGC). In spring, NGC released a one-hour documentary, “World’s Smart Cities: San Diego,” spotlighting the region’s unparalleled quality of life and innovative culture. The documentary aired in more than 60 countries around the world, reaching an estimated 250 million households. Most recently, National Geographic Traveler magazine named the San Diego/Tijuana region one of 20 “must see” worldwide visitor destinations for 2016.
“We’re very encouraged by the growth of San Diego’s tourism economy over the past couple of years,” said Terzi. “And every San Diegan has a stake in the success of this important industry. Our ability to attract more travelers benefits the entire region through increased spending at our business establishments and more hotel tax revenue that the city can use for police, fire and other important services.”
Projected 2015 San Diego Tourism Numbers*
- Annual Visitors: 34.2 million
- Annual Visitor Spending: $9.9 billion
- Hotel Room Nights Sold: 16.9 million
- Annual Hotel Tax Revenue: $266 million
- San Diegans Working in Tourism: 173,000
*San Diego County numbers