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Report shows San Jose struggling to get tourism spending back to pre-pandemic levels

San Jose struggles to get tourism spending back after pandemic
San Jose struggles to get tourism spending back after pandemic 02:21

A new report shows that the city of San Jose has not recovered to pre-pandemic levels when it comes to the travel industry.

Team San Jose, a partnership between the convention center, the Visitor's Bureau, hotels and venues, presented findings from Fiscal Year 2022-23 to the City's Community and Economic Development Committee this month.

According to the presentation, visitor spending in 2022 was at 82.6% of what it was in 2019.

One of the reasons for the lack of visitor spending is that there aren't as many conferences coming to San Jose, according to Ben Roschke, the vice president of research and strategic development with Team San Jose.

"Pre-pandemic, most of our conventions were large tech groups coming in. A lot of those conventions have ceased to exist," Roschke told KPIX 5.

According Fiscal Year 2021-22 report, while overall attendance at Team San Jose-managed facilities recovered to 54% of pre-pandemic levels, overall spending by attendees in restaurants, bars, hotels and other attractions only reached 25% of pre-pandemic levels. The full report for the Fiscal Year 2022-23 is set to come out soon, according to Team San Jose.

Roschke added that they're trying to diversify into more markets to bring in more conferences.

Just this week, the downtown area saw the benefits of having a conference in town. On Wednesday, there was a conference relating to data streaming wrapping up.

"I actually loved my stay here. I didn't get to see that much of it," said Michael, who was visiting with his friend Tobias from Germany for the conference.

While they didn't get a chance to explore much, they did walk around.

"It was a nice day, restaurants were cool, really nice food that we had. So, I enjoyed it," Michael said.

That's what conferences in San Jose do for nearby businesses and hotels - bring in people from other states and even other countries.

Petiscos is a restaurant near the San Jose Convention Center. The executive chef, David Costa, said they see good business on weekends, but conferences really help out during the week.

That's the same case for Guildhouse, a place you can go for video games and board games but also a place where companies can hold events.

"We like conventions a lot," said Kevin Wick, the co-owner at Guildhouse.

Wick said conferences related to pop culture, tech and anime help them out a lot.

"We're going to have a full house every day that they're in town," he said.

Matthew Martinucci, vice president of sales and destination services at Team San Jose, told the city's community and economic development committee, "For many years, we were positioning ourselves as part of the Bay Area or maybe the heart of the Bay Area. Much of the national and international focus for the Bay Area is negative now."

Roschke said other reasons the city isn't recovering to pre-pandemic levels is because of the lack of international travel and business travel. 

A previous version of this story referenced an older fiscal year report. The story has since been updated.

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