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Mayor London Breed Embarks On European Trip Touting San Francisco Tourism In Pandemic Recovery

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Mayor London Breed has embarked on a multi-city trip to Europe to tout San Francisco as a tourism destination as the city looks to recover two years since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a statement from Breed's office, the mayor will be visiting London, Brussels, Frankfurt and Paris on her 10-day journey.

"We have a lot of work to do to get our economy going again, and we need to do everything we can to bring visitors back to this City," Breed said.

Breed is scheduled to meet with representatives from airlines and airports. The mayor is also expected to hold meetings with local officials, including with Paris Mayor and French presidential candidate Anne Hidalgo.

"Tourism is so essential to providing jobs and support for our restaurants, hotels, small businesses, and the arts, as well as the revenue that allows us to deliver all the support and services for those in need," the mayor went on to say. "My focus right now is lifting this City up and making sure everyone sees that we are focused on recovery as we emerge from this pandemic."

The trip comes nearly two years after the rapidly spreading coronavirus prompted unprecedented shelter-in-place orders and shutdowns in the Bay Area and throughout California, forcing many tourist-oriented businesses to close.

According to the mayor's office, hotel industry jobs in San Francisco have only recovered 53%, while jobs in the arts, recreation and entertainment industry have recovered 62%. In the food and drink industry, jobs have recovered 82%.

Officials said San Francisco International Airport was also among the hardest hit during the pandemic, due to the loss of international travel. In December, about a month after international travel restrictions were lifted, international enplanements were only at 40% of pre-pandemic levels.

"San Francisco has always been one of the country's most popular destinations for international visitors, and we know people are ready to travel again," said SF Travel President and CEO Joe D'Alessandro.

Tourism officials will be accompanying the mayor on the trip. Breed's travel abroad is being funded by the airport, which does not rely on the city's general fund, officials said.

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