San Diego’s tourism rebounds

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – San Diego’s tourism is back, after a dramatic drop in market share a year ago.

That is when Former Mayor Bob Filner decided to withhold funding to market San Diego as a destination city.

The accounts were frozen after Filner lost a bruising, and public fight with the tourism marketing district, and the City Council, to raid those funds.

At the Marketing District’s annual meeting Friday, they looked at the results of the past year, and a look at what is ahead.

San Diego is a top tier destination city that continued to perform well in 2011 and 2012, until Filner pulled the plug.

“As soon as the Marketing District funding was pulled in 2013, we saw an immediate lull in performance, market share, against competitors in California, as well as the top 25 cities in the United States,” said Adam Sacks of Tourism Economics.

Adam Sacks has been analyzing and tracking San Diego’s tourism industry over the last few years.

“It makes it all the more interesting that even such a destination as San Diego that’s successful, and well known could lose traction so quickly in the absence of marketing,” said Sacks.

“Our market share is really the big thing. Drastic declines in 2013, when we were out of the market place,” said Jodi Blackington.

Without funds, San Diego lost ground quickly to its competitors like, Los Angeles, Anaheim, and San Francisco.

“They were double digit increases. We were not getting the market share, we got about 50% of the market share that we were projected to have,” said Lorin Stewart.

Then Filner was abruptly gone, and the funds from increased room rates at hotels were flowing in to promote the city.

San Diego resumed marketing the city with an ad in the Super Bowl.

“43 million people saw the San Diego ad in January, this year, back when there was a Polar Vortex,” said Stewart.

Now, funds for promoting the city are now triple from what they were four years ago.

“We are able to deploy this last year, about $25 million. This year in 2015, we’ll deploy another $22 million, and next year in that same neighborhood,” said Stewart. 

“These great events that occur during the year that we need promoting to other cities across the country,” said Chris Cate, Council Member-elect.

“The numbers are immediately coming back up, so that’s really the positive of what’s happened, and the message of this meeting today,” said Stewart.

There is still one cloud hanging over the positive news. The hotels self-assessment that brings in all of this new funding is being challenged in court.

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