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San Francisco tourism is on the rise

Conventions like DreamForce have been driving San Francisco's rise in tourism.
Conventions, like DreamForce, have been driving San Francisco's rise in tourism.

The pandemic cut San Francisco’s tourism rates by more than half. But now, it seems, the tide is turning. The San Francisco Travel Association reported that 2023’s annual visitors are now trailing behind 2019’s record-breaking 26.2 million out-of-towners.

But the recovery still isn’t moving as fast as predicted. So, what’s keeping out-of-towners out of San Francisco? One survey, released by the Travel Association, shows that talk of the city’s “doom loop” and dying downtown is deterring visitors. It’s even keeping tourists from visiting other Bay Area hot spots, like Sonoma’s wine country.

And what’s bringing visitors to town? A slew of conferences, like DreamForce and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Summit have been driving SF tourism. And the travel association hopes to attract more conventions to keep the people coming.

This year, San Francisco expect nearly 24 million visitors to spend almost nine-and-a-half billion dollars. Ted Egan, SF’s Chief Economist, says the city is “on track.”

Leenah Najeiah Bassouni is a 2023 Audio Academy Fellow. She is a Libyan archivist and open source investigator. Her work centers on Islamic dream theory, surveillance, and subversive radio histories. She is interested in the silences of the archive, dreaming new futures, and rugs. In her free time, you can find her digging for textiles or road-tripping.