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The San Diego Tourism Authority addressed the state of local tourism this morning during its annual meeting held at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina. Themed "The Next Era of San Diego Tourism," the event highlighted the significant economic impact of tourism on the San Diego region and the local tourism industry's record-breaking year in 2012.

"I want to thank our Board of Directors, staff, community partners and our members for an incredibly successful year," stated Joe Terzi, President and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority. "Our collaborative efforts resulted in a record high number of overnight visitors, visitor spending and local economic impact in 2012, as well as record attendance at our local attractions, positioning San Diego as one of the top five travel destinations in the country."

The San Diego visitor industry ranks as the second largest traded economy in the region, contributing $18.3 billion in total economic benefit in 2012, a 6.6 percent increase from 2011. For hotel visitors, San Diego's tourism industry has experienced continued consecutive growth over the last 37 months.

The San Diego Tourism Authority reports the following notable 2012 visitor industry statistics:

  • In 2012, there were 32.3 million total visitors to the San Diego region - a 3.6 percent increase over 2011 and the highest number of visitors recorded.
  • In 2012, there were 16.1 million overnight visitors in San Diego - a 2.4 percent increase over 2011.
  • In 2012, visitors to San Diego spent $8 billion at local businesses throughout the region - a 6.6 percent increase over 2011.
  • In 2012, local attractions had a combined attendance of 14.3 million visitors - a 3.8 percent increase over 2011 and the highest attendance in 10 years.
  • In 2012, the average hotel occupancy reached nearly 71 percent - a 2.9 percent increase over 2011.
  • In 2012, the average daily rate (ADR) for hotel rooms was $130 - a 4.4 percent increase over 2011.
  • In 2012, the revenue per available hotel room (REVPAR) was nearly $93 - a 7.4 percent increase over 2011.

San Diego's booming tourism industry also directly supports San Diego residents by creating jobs: in 2012, the local tourism and hospitality industry employed approximately 160,000 San Diegans, which accounts for 13 percent of the jobs in San Diego County.

"It is important that we not only recognize the economic value of tourism to San Diego, but also that tourism is good for the people," continued Terzi. "Tourism has the ability to improve communities, our neighborhoods and the quality of life for our residents. It is a ladder to success and the American dream. The San Diego Tourism Authority is committed to being a pillar of the community and supporting the livelihood of so many San Diegans."

The San Diego Tourism Authority's 2012 Annual Report and Highlights is available upon request.