The San Francisco Travel Association is forecasting record levels of visitor volume and spending for 2017. This is the eighth year in a row that the destination has surpassed the previous year's totals.
The destination marketing organization is projecting a total of 25.6 million visitors to the city for 2017, up 1.7 percent over 25.184 million in 2016.
Total spending by visitors is projected to reach $9.822 billion. This is up 1.5 percent over $9.675 billion in 2016.
San Francisco Travel expects to welcome 2.893 million international visitors in 2017, an increase of 0.3 percent over 2016. They are projected to spend $4.851 billion, up 1.1 percent from $4.8 billion in 2016.
International visitors should comprise 27.6 percent of visitors and 61.2 percent of all overnight visitor spending in 2017.
The strongest visitor growth will be in the Asia/Pacific markets (China, India, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Australia) with the largest increases in international visitor volume from China (7.76 percent), India (7.23 percent) and South Korea (5.82 percent).
“While international travel overall will have modest growth – and represents the majority of visitors spending - there will be decreases in travel from some international markets such as Europe and Canada this year because of a variety of reasons. We forecast a decrease in travel from Mexico which is partly a reaction to the proposed changes in immigration and travel policies,”
said Joe D'Alessandro, president and CEO of San Francisco Travel.
“Fortunately the growth from the Asia/Pacific markets is offsetting these declines and San Francisco will continue to outpace the nation as a whole”
With the significant growth in the Asia/Pacific region, San Francisco Travel is expanding its direct-to-consumer marketing in the year ahead. Specifically, the association is ramping up sophisticated consumer programs in China, the number one growth market. This includes:
• Maintaining and growing the destination's Chinese social media presence on WeChat and Weibo. San Francisco was the first major gateway destination to launch a WeChat microsite to better connect and engage Chinese audiences
• Building a fan base on Yizhibo with livestreaming which helps build followers on Weibo and WeChat.
Continuing online travel agency campaigns on Ctrip and broadening reach with Fliggy, the Chinese retail giant Alibaba's online travel platform, which will allow San Francisco to “inspire” potential travelers.
This month, San Francisco Travel leveraged the Golden State Warrior's pre-season exhibition games in China by holding events for travel trade and media in Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing and Taipei. This was integrated with digital consumer campaigns and cross-promotion with the Warriors.
The Rugby World Cup Sevens, coming to AT&T Park in July, 2018 is expected to attract significant visitation and media attention in Europe and Asia/Pacific, where rugby is extremely popular and fans travel globally to cheer their teams. This will be the first time the Rugby World Cup Sevens will be held in the United States.
San Francisco Travel has marketing representation and programs in 13 international markets: The United Kingdom/Ireland, Germany, France, Italy/Spain, Scandinavia, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Beijing, Shanghai, South Korea, India and Australia.
San Francisco Travel operates Visitor Information Centers at Hallidie Plaza, 900 Market St. at the corner of Powell and Market streets, and on the lower level of Macy's Union Square. San Francisco Travel is also a partner at the California Welcome Center at PIER 39. For more information, visit www.sftravel.com
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) offers non-stop service by 41 international carriers serving 49 international cities and connects non-stop with 83 cities in the U.S. on 13 domestic airlines.