Increase in tourism brainstormed for San Diego
“I can just start by saying what a difference a year makes,” said City Council President Todd Gloria to laughter and applause. “When you are sitting in a board room with Bob Filner and Gloria Allred, you know something's wrong, but you guys can go toe-to-toe because you lived that experience as well.”
Yes, there was plenty of laughter, but the reminder of last year's millions of tourism dollars stalemate between former mayor Bob Filner and San Diego's hospitality industry also drew some grimaces. Jokes aside, our tourism people say it cost San Diego. Our hotel room occupancy was up a little, but not compared to other cities such as Anaheim and San Francisco.
Filner may have been acting on principal when he denied funding for the Tourism Authority, but the overall impact cost the city dearly. So, as the Tourism Authority celebrates its 60th anniversary, it's also celebrating what is calls a new outlook, new beginning.
“We are so clearly saying to the world: San Diego is back open for business, and we want you to pay us a visit, am I right?”
Two months ago, the Authority launched its largest ever seasonal marketing campaign. A $12 million blitz that includes national television and digital advertising. Also heralded at the meeting, marketing San Diego in China. The meeting's keynote speaker, Kish Rajan, Director of the governor's Office of Business and Economic Development.
“Last year, Governor Brown led a trade mission to China, and the Chinese are so enthusiastic to visit California…. And when you highlight San Diego as a reason to come, it's a deal closer I have to tell you,” said Rajan.
“We're in the final stages of hiring a firm to represent us in China, probably out of Shanghai,” stated Joe Terzi, President and CEO of Tourism Authority. “And we have a lot of work to do because San Diego is not as well known as L.A. and San Francisco.”
Another announcement: San Diego will be showcased worldwide during a National Geographic television series on so-called “Smart Cities”.
“What you saw during that time last year was that San Diegans support how important the hospitality industry is to our city,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
Almost $19 billion a year into regional economy.