SAN FRANCISCO --
Tourism officials here are betting a new advertising and marketing
campaign will increase San Franciscos visitor count, which has been
rising after staggering for three years.
We are in a
period of steady recovery, said John Marks, president of the San
Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau. We have a long way to go
before we get back to the golden days of 2000, but were trending
Marks and San
Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom recently unveiled an advertising
slogan, Only in San Francisco, meant to reflect the citys geography
and landmarks, diverse cultures, originality and acceptance of
Its a slogan
thats real because its an expression we often use, said Newsom. It
will stick, and it will be with us a long time. The citys previous
slogan was Americas Favorite City.
Newsom, the new
mayor who garnered publicity for opening the doors for same-sex
marriages, has been applauded by the citys tourism industry for his
efforts to reduce the number of homeless people on the citys
others in the industry have long blamed the highly visible homeless
population, considered the largest in the U.S. for a city its size,
for discouraging tourism.
He and Marks said
the city has entered a new period of optimism and that the uptick
in visitor numbers shows interest in travel to San Francisco is
budget for the Only in San Francisco campaign is limited: $1.2
million, said Diane DeRose, the bureaus vice president of
marketing. But the bureau hopes to develop partnerships with
national merchants and travel suppliers to take the advertising
campaign beyond the Bay area, she said.
The new theme
will be incorporated into all of the bureaus marketing efforts,
including those to consumers, meet- ings planners, travel agents
and the international travel trade, DeRose said.
The bureaus Web
site, at www.sfvisitor.org, was redesigned and incorporates the
Only in San Francisco theme.
some good news for the local tourism industry: Hotel occupancy for
2004 in San Francisco is projected to reach a 71% average for the
year, up from 68% in 2003.
continue to climb, from 13.7 million in 2002 to 14.3 million in
2003. Numbers have not been tabulated for the first half of
citys average room rate continues to be down significantly from the
high in 2000 of $170 per night. The average room rate was $138 in
2003, and this year is expected to climb only to $145.
Marks said that
travel to San Francisco for conventions, which makes up one-third
of the visits, remains robust and that leisure tourism has
returned, but the segment that continues to lag is independent
A combination of
a lackluster economy, which hit the Bay area particularly hard, and
moves by companies to relocate operations outside of the city is
the culprit, Marks said.
reporter Laura Del Rosso, send e-mail to [email protected].