San Diego tourism sees all time highs, 2017 looks even brighter - KUSI News - San Diego, CA

San Diego tourism sees all time highs, 2017 looks even brighter

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Joe Terzi of the Tourism Authority Joe Terzi of the Tourism Authority

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — San Diego's Tourism Economy is healthy and growing. 2016 was another record year as both visitors and visitor spending was at an all time high.

2017 looks even brighter. 

35 million people visited San Diego last year, adding $10.4 billion to the local economy. 

Joe Terzi of the Tourism Authority attributes the increases to having a lot of strong national and international events such as Comicon. 

"Major league baseball in the summer really helped us from an overall standpoint of getting more exposure for San Diego of course the Farmers Open does that," Terzi said.

Room nights increased by $700,000 to a high of $17.1 million and hotel tax revenue to the city was $267 million. 

"We're shooting for a very aggressive number of over $300 million in TOT by 2021," Terzi said.

With Convention Center expansion stalled, the loss of the Chargers and the Poinsettia Bowl. Those events have to be replaced. To do that, the Tourism Authority is broadening its reach to promote San Diego internationally.

" ... two new destinations; Germany for the condor flight that will start this summer, and also in Switzerland for the Edelweiss flight that starts this summer too. We've spent approximately half a million dollars just in those markets right now," Terzi said.

The plan is when those flights leave their destinations, they will be full.

"We're working on direct service out of China, so from our standpoint, we have a lot of catching up to do in order to be competitive and one of the ways we're going to do that is acquire more domestic and international flights to San Diego," Terzi said. "While we have growth domestically, the majority of growth into the U.S. really has fueled the expansion of the hospitality industry around the country."

This year, the Breeders Cup comes to San Diego. 

"It will draw a week-long activity and people from all over the world will come and participate in that," Terzi added.

There will be new soccer events coming, the Baseball Classic and the Red Bull Air Races return, along with extreme sailing races. 

"That will be a week-long sailing event that's open to the public. I expect to see hundreds of thousands of people around the bay watching these great events," Terzi said.

There is a concern in the hospitality industry about the impact of the Trump Administration's travel ban, "how to balance the safety and security with making sure that the U.S. is still welcoming people to come to the U.S."

2015 and 2016 were record growth years. Another record year is projected in 2017. 

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