Monday, March 23, 2009

SF Tourism Business Takes Precipitous Drop [video]

Tourism is San Francisco's top money maker. But right now, the tourism industry is feeling the pinch of this recession. The city's convention and visitors bureau says hotel bookings are significantly lower than in recent years. There have been fewer hotel bookings, fewer conventions and trade shows. Big spenders, such as Cisco Systems and Network Appliances, canceled their conventions this year. And two less major shows at the Moscone Center means less money coming into hotels and city coffers compared to last year. ‘We had about 993,000 room nights. this year it's about 835,000 room nights,’ says Leonard Hoops of the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau. Hoop warns that 2010 is shaping up to be worse, because of the recession and because groups that meet on the West Coast one year tend to meet on the East Coast the next year. This week, the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association returns to San Francisco for its 28th Annual Convention and Trade Show. Organizers say despite the economic downturn, about 300 exhibitors are participating; the same number as last year. Those at Precor, a manufacturer of fitness equipment, say the show is the company's largest marketing expenditure of the year. And they hope their sprawling display pays off with new purchases of treadmills and elliptical machines. Those attending the show say they are feeling the sting of the recession too. ‘What we came for is to again make sure we understand how we can improve our business in the recession,’ said Terri Foster, the general manager of a gym in Salem, New Hampshire. ‘We felt it was definitely worth the investment to come.’”

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