Join us as we Celebrate the Future of Travel.
Thank you for your interest in finding out more about why travel matters to San Diego and the economic health of the region.
There were 23.8 million visitors to San Diego last year, of which almost 14 million were overnight and over 9.9 million were day visitors. Visitors spent $7.5 billion at thousands of San Diego businesses during their stay, with 70% of those dollars spent at businesses other than lodging, including restaurants, museums, parks and retailers.
The visitor industry employs nearly 200,000 San Diegans, or almost 13% of all jobs in the region, in fields directly related to the hospitality industry, including lodging, food service, attractions and transportation. Tourism is San Diego's second-largest traded economy, contributing $12.7 billion in economic impact to the region.
In San Diego County, $127.6 million was collected in Transient Occupancy Tax revenue for fiscal year 2021 (July 2020 - June 2021). This tax is collected from guests who stay in hotels and other short-term rentals. Additional sales taxes and property taxes from visitor industry businesses grow the total tax revenues generated by visitors to an estimated $940 million annually. This revenue flows directly to the city's general fund to pay for road improvement, police, fire safety, lifeguards, parks and other essential services. In essence, tourism not only drives the local economy, but supports the community’s 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 and call San Diego home.
San Diego's travel industry has a far larger economic footprint than many realize. Not only does the industry generate employment, direct spending and tax revenue, but travelers’ spending is amplified 1.65 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.
Across the United States, business travel was still 56% below pre-pandemic levels in 2021, and international inbound spending remained 78% below pre-pandemic levels.
However, the value of in-person meetings, conferences, trade shows and events is irreplaceable, and San Diego is well-positioned to bring the meetings business back in a big way: A new analysis from the Meetings Information Network lists our city among the Top 3 “winning locations” for conventions nationwide. So far in 2022, 548 meetings and conventions with an estimated 651K attendees and 990k blocked room nights are already scheduled in San Diego, and that is something to celebrate!
Additionally, as travel restrictions and testing requirements are eased, San Diego’s international travel continues to rebound, thanks to the return of flights from Canada and Europe. British Airway’s popular direct London flight is now joined by Lufthansa out of Munich, Germany. Canadians can now visit San Diego with flights aboard Air Canada, WestJet and Swoop. Japan Airlines continues to ferry Japanese tourists to the destination. Lastly, travelers from Mexico and abroad can fly directly to SAN or to the Tijuana International Airport and quickly cross the border via Cross Border Xpress.
With meetings and conventions continuing to meet safely in San Diego and additional international flights returning to San Diego, San Diego’s travel and tourism industry is poised to reach a full recovery by 2025.
Each year we join the U.S. Travel Association in celebrating National Travel & Tourism Week (NTTW), as tourism professionals in the United States unite to celebrate the value travel holds for the economy, businesses and travel-related employment across the nation. We invite you to learn more about why travel matters to San Diego on this site and how you can become an advocate for the industry in your local community.
Below you fill find useful information to help tell the San Diego tourism story: Fact sheets, social media assets, suggested copy, and infographics that help share the impact tourism has on the San Diego region.
English | Change Language