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Tourism Works For San Diego

Thank you for your interest in finding out more about why travel matters to San Diego and the economic health of our region. 

Tourism is San Diego's second largest traded economy contributing $18.3 billion in economic impact and employing 160,000 San Diegans. San Diego tourism also generates over $150 million in hotel room tax revenue collected from guests staying in our local hotels, which flows directly to the city's general fund to pay for roads, police, fire safety, lifeguards, parks and other essential services.

So in essence, tourism not only drives our local economy, but supports our way of life and makes San Diego a better place to live, work and play. It also instills a deep sense of pride in those individuals who work in the tourism industry or call San Diego home.

Here are just a few stories from proud San Diegans working in the tourism industry.

Eric Weddle - Defensive Back, San Diego Chargers

When I first came out of the NFL draft in 2007, I knew San Diego was where I wanted to be. I grew up in Rancho Cucamonga, so playing for the Chargers is a dream come true. more


Adela Sanchez - Director of Housekeeping, Lodge at Torrey Pines

I am Adela Sanchez, and mine is a story of San Diego Tourism. I started as a room attendant at La Costa Hotel and Resort in 1973 and worked my way up through the ranks. Today, I’m the Director of Housekeeping at the Lodge at Torrey Pines. more


Rod LaBranche - Director of Sales, Old Town Trolley Tours

I arrived in San Diego two decades ago with a communications degree from the University of New Hampshire and dreams of paradise. more


Jason Knibb - Executive Chef, Nine-Ten

I've worked in restaurants alongside notable chefs like Wolfgang Puck, Roy Yamaguchi and Hans Röckenwagner, but I started out in the industry bussing tables. more


Coco & Izzy Tihanyi - Co-Owners, Surf Diva

We grew up in San Diego and discovered our passion for surfing and joy for the ocean from our parents. more

Travel Means Economic Benefit

Travel is the largest industry in the world. In the United States, travel and tourism generates $1.9 trillion for the U.S. economy and supports 14.4 million American jobs - one in every eight. Travel accounts for 2.7 percent of the nation's gross domestic product and is touted as the number one service that we export.

For San Diego, the travel industry is the second largest industry generating $18.3 billion in economic impact and employing 160,000 San Diegans who cannot be outsourced. The travel industry has a far larger economic footprint than many realize. More than transportation and lodging, travelers generate spending at restaurants, museums, parks and retailers. In fact, 70% of visitor spending is at businesses other than lodging. Traveler's spending is amplified 2.23 times through a ripple effect: as travel workers spend their paychecks in other sectors of the economy, and as vendors and suppliers receive contracts from travel businesses.

If you want to understand more about the impact of tourism in our community and how it relates to the San Diego Tourism Authority, read on.

> Download "The Facts: Why San Diego Tourism Matters" (PDF)

> Download Tourism: San Diego's 2nd Largest Traded Economy - A White Paper Discussion (PDF)