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HomeNewsInternationalSan Francisco 2022 Visitor Arrival Up 29% at 22 million

San Francisco 2022 Visitor Arrival Up 29% at 22 million

The San Francisco Travel Association, the official destination marketing organization for the City and County of San Francisco, reported a significant increase in visitors in 2022 – with 21.9 million visitors to the city, up 29% from 2021’s 17 million. Visitor spending was $7.4 billion in 2022, more than double the 2021 visitor spend of $3.56 billion. Total tourism spending, including exhibitor and meeting planner direct spend, was $7.7 billion.

“The incredible growth in 2022 was fueled largely by international leisure travelers and our convention business, with the 33 events booked at Moscone Center driving $587 million in convention and meetings spending,” said Joe D’Alessandro, San Francisco Travel’s President and CEO. “We made significant headway in 2022 through targeted efforts to attract overseas travelers and secure events for Moscone Center.”

San Francisco had a record 26.2 million visitors and $9.6 billion in visitor spending in 2019. Visitor spending is expected to reach 2019’s level in 2024 and visitor volume is anticipated to exceed 2019’s in 2025. San Francisco’s tourism industry is forecasted to fully recover Lodging RevPAR (revenue per available room) by 2026.

International Visitor Volume and Spending

In 2022, San Francisco welcomed 1.7 million international visitors, a 211% increase year-over year driven largely by returning European travelers. The international market continues to drive visitor spending. International visitors comprised just 24% of overnight visitor volume but over 60% of all overnight visitor spending in 2022. They spent $3.7 billion, up from $1 billion in 2021.

Covid restrictions in place in 2022 in key Asia markets for San Francisco affected the pace of tourism recovery, and international arrivals and spending remained below 2019’s record 2.9 million international visitors and $5.1 billion in spend.

Based on the most recent 2022 data available from Oxford Economics, the top five international markets for visitor volume in 2022 were Mexico, the U.K., Canada, India, and Germany. The top five international markets for spend in 2022 were India, the U.K., Mexico, Canada, and Germany.

“San Francisco is not yet reaching pre-pandemic numbers as anticipated, but we expect to see further growth this year, especially as we begin to welcome back more travelers from Asia. With the return of flight routes to SFO from cities across Asia and an ease on testing requirements, we should see increases in international visitation and spending,” said D’Alessandro.

Hotel Performance

Average hotel occupancy was 62.1%, up 43.7% from 2021’s occupancy rate. The average daily rate (ADR) was $231.12, up 41% YOY. Revenue per available room rose more than 100% to $143.47.

Meetings and Conventions

Room nights consumed by delegates attending Moscone Center conventions totaled 347,788 – a 1,933% increase from 2021. Meetings rebounded following the slowdown in Q1 due to the delta and omicron Covid-19 variants, with Moscone Center hosting 33 events in 2022 compared to five following its reopening in September 2021.

Tourism’s Far-Reaching Economic Impact

The tourism industry generated $522 million in taxes and fees for the City and County of San Francisco in 2022, up 103% from $257 million in 2021.

Tourism is one of the largest sectors for job creation in the city. In 2023, jobs supported by tourism grew 95% to 53,156, up from 27,318 last year but still below the more than 86,000 jobs supported in 2019.

San Francisco International Airport

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) served over 42.3 million passengers, up 74% from 2020’s 16.4 million passengers but down 26% from 2019’s 57.8 million. 

Outlook for 2023

Leisure travel is expected to continue its steady recovery and overall visitation to the city is forecast to reach 23.9 million in 2023. Total visitor spending is expected to grow from $7.4 billion in 2022 to $8.7 billion in 2023. International arrivals are projected to grow to two million in 2023, with an anticipated contribution of $4.3 billion in spending.

Hotel room nights associated with Moscone Center events will almost double in 2023 to over 673,000. There are 35 events confirmed at Moscone Center in 2023, and higher attendance is expected at events this year in line with national industry trends and definite hotel room nights on the books.

Hotel occupancy in 2023 is forecast to reach 70%, up 12.7% from 2022. ADR in 2023 is projected to grow 11% to a forecast of $257.22. Hotel RevPAR is anticipated to grow 25.4% to $179.95. San Francisco currently has 253 hotels with a rooms inventory of 36,165. Seven hotels closed permanently during the pandemic and a further 10 remain temporarily closed.

SFO projects it will see over 50 million passengers in 2023, up ~8 million from 2022. The airport forecasts it will return to 2019’s 58-million-annual-passenger-levels of traffic between 2025 and 2026. 






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