SAN JOSE, Calif.--Increased leisure travel here has more than
offset the decline in business travel caused by Asia's economic
woes, according to Marian Holt, chief executive officer of the
city's Convention and Visitors Bureau.
"The tourism segment is well up on last year," Holt said, "so
much so that our overall volume is higher by as much as 20%." She
credited the stronger emphasis on leisure promotion, including the
successful "Destination San Jose" marketing program, for the
One of the effects of the slightly depressed international
traffic is to make more hotel space available for tourists Mondays
through Thursdays. "Right now, you can get good rooms in San Jose
during the week," Holt said. "We would like travel agents to know
One of the factors behind the city's encouraging tourism results
is a new toll-free information number, (888) SANJOSE, answered by
staff who help arrange hotel accommodations, sightseeing and show
"From the agents' perspective, it's a useful number to know,"
Holt said, "because we know hotel availability at any given time.
Whereas an agent might have to make several calls to find the kind
of hotel room needed, we can book the right room--commissionable,
of course--and make any other reservations that might be required.
We call it our concierge service."
The city's visitor industry has benefited as well from an
increase in air service from around the country. United Airlines
recently began serving the San Jose market with flights to the
Midwest and eastern states, and American has beefed up its nonstop
flight schedule to New York (Kennedy), Boston and Washington.
"In all," Holt said, "we have some 450 flights a day in and out
of San Jose, on 18 carriers." San Jose will be more accessible to
international travelers when work is finished on extending one
airport runway to accommodate 747 traffic.
Currently, the airport is capable of handling nothing bigger
than a fully fueled L-1011, which American Airlines flies to Asia.
The city's physical plant will get a huge boost with the opening
this month of the Tech Museum of Innovation. (See story, below
left.)Holt said it is possible that the museum could attract as
many as 500,000 visitors a year to San Jose.