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San Francisco seeing an upswing in tourism after hosting large events

San Francisco businesses seeing an uptick in tourism following large events
San Francisco businesses seeing an uptick in tourism following large events 03:51

SAN FRANCISCO— San Francisco's iconic Pier 39 is abuzz with activity as tourists from around the world flock to explore the vibrant Embarcadero corridor.

Among the establishments reaping the benefits of this tourist influx is Coqueta restaurant, a Spanish culinary gem nestled along the waterfront.

"We have this amazing corridor — very wide. And we have people from all over the world, not only from the cruise ships but also from other areas," said Yuri Chauca, the manager of Coqueta restaurant. "We have the major hotels nearby, and people like to walk around." 

Having served patrons for over a decade, Coqueta has weathered the challenges posed by the pandemic. Chauca acknowledges the crucial role that tourism plays in the restaurant's success and recovery.

"In our industry, when we don't have the foot traffic and reservations, it's boring because we need this lively environment every single time — since the moment we open until the moment we close," Chauca said. "So yeah, we are really excited and very hopeful that it will ramp up."

The optimism expressed by Chauca is mirrored in the recent statistics released by the San Francisco Travel Association. The city welcomed a record-breaking 23.1 million visitors in 2023, with a notable 82 percent increase in hotel nights bookings compared to the previous year. 

The surge in tourism can be attributed to major events hosted at the Moscone Center and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders' Summit.

Scott Beck, President and CEO of San Francisco Travel, highlighted the ongoing efforts to revitalize the city's tourism sector. 

"San Francisco's tourism recovery efforts continue to make steady progress, attracting more conventions and events to the city is a key focus for SF Travel given their citywide impact on San Francisco's economy," Beck remarked.

The city's strong convention calendar has been a driving force behind the surge in tourism, with events like Dreamforce and the APEC Conference drawing delegates from around the globe. The increase in convention activity has translated into significant gains for San Francisco's lodging industry.

Visitors to San Francisco, including conference attendees, have been effusive in their praise for the city's offerings.

"Honestly, my entire experience from start to finish has been pretty fantastic," one visitor from Los Angeles said. 

Another visitor, hailing from Vancouver, Canada, expressed delight at the beautiful weather, great food, and drinks, affirming their intention to return.

Chauca noted a positive trend in the return of local patrons, particularly as more offices reopen in the financial district. 

"As the spring and summer approach, we have more cruises, and we have locals who want to come out on sunny days like today," Chauca told KPIX. "We're seeing them right now, walking back and forth, jogging, and things like that."

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