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COVID-19 Impact: San Francisco tourism industry bracing for boost as US lifts international travel restrictions

San Francisco (KGO)- The White House has announced that the United States will lift restrictions on international travelers From early November, from 33 countries, including most of China, India, Brazil and Europe.
So how quickly can we expect more tourists in San Francisco?

Joe Dallesandro, President and Chief Executive Officer of SF Travel, said: “We are very excited about it. It is a really important step forward in our recovery.”

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D’Alessandro says foreign visitors accounted for 63% of San Francisco’s tourism spending in 2019 before the pandemic.

“It’s a lot, it’s the largest percentage of the major cities in the United States,” he said. “These visitors are either coming as tourists or attending business trip meetings.”

When restrictions are lifted around the world, D’Alessandro expects some of its tourism spending to come back. The top three international markets to enter San Francisco are the United Kingdom, France and Germany. All of these are on the list of countries where the restrictions will be lifted.

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Kevin Carroll, Chairman of the San Francisco Hotel Council, said:

According to Carroll, the occupancy rate of hotels in the city is still around 30-35%, which is about 85% in normal years. He hopes that the added foot traffic will give the industry a long-awaited boost as foreign visitors tend to stay longer.
“It is necessary to be able to move forward and reach what is considered a full recovery,” Carroll said.

Carroll explained that in order for the city to fully recover its conventions, business trips and tourism, everything needs to be completely restored.

“How far do you think you are from that point?” Asked Stephanie Sierra of ABC7.

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“Three years from now, at least three years from now,” Carroll said. “It could be potentially four years.”

According to SF Travel, San Francisco has five competitions planned this year, some of which are currently in effect. Authorities report that there are about 30 tentative competitions scheduled for next year.

“We hope it stays that way,” said D’Alessandro. “2022 will be much better.”

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