The next big things in San Francisco tourism 

Destination-marketing organizations such as the San Francisco Travel Association are often described as the guardians of the future. This is especially so here, where tourism is our largest industry, generating in excess of $8.5 billion annually for the local economy, supporting 66,837 jobs and an annual payroll of $1.86 billion.

And while our industry might be built on a lot of lighthearted moments — the weekend getaway, the vacation of a lifetime — it’s also something that we take very seriously and plan for prodigiously, especially when it comes to the events that pay the rent at Moscone Center and fill the meeting space at our convention-level hotels.

Here are a few of the next big things coming our way that keep us in the game, and a quick snapshot of the gestation period for some of these endeavors:

US Travel Association’s International Pow Wow

Timeline: This event was last held in San Francisco in 1992. The bid for the 2011 meeting was submitted in 2003.

The San Francisco Travel Association and The City’s hospitality industry will host Pow Wow from May 21-25. Known worldwide in the travel industry as the major marketplace for doing inbound U.S. travel business, the event is expected to generate more than $350 million in tourism for San Francisco over the next three years.

More than 1,100 international and domestic tour operators from 70 countries will “shop” the largest travel industry trade show in North America, conducting business in 70,000 preset meetings with representatives from more than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations. More than 400 international and domestic travel journalists will also attend to report on the event and the destination.

Moscone Center Expansion

Timeline: Expansion task force formed in October 2007. Best-case scenario: expanded facility opening in late 2017.

Although Moscone North and South are currently undergoing a two-year, $56 million renovation, several Moscone Center expansion scenarios are in the planning stages and are supported by The City:

Moscone East (which would add contiguous exhibit space to Moscone South as well as above-ground meeting space) and a reconfiguration of the concourse area between Moscone North and South (which would add “flex space” and better link the exhibit halls in both buildings).

Bids for Industry Meetings

Bids in 2011 to host industry meetings every two years beginning in 2014.

Like any industry, we have our meetings too. The primary ones are American Society of Association Executives, Meeting Professionals International and Professional Convention Management Association, as well as partner conferences for third-party meeting planners such as Helms Briscoe and

With the additional funding from the tourism improvement district, we are once again in a position to host these annual meetings and show off San Francisco to tens of thousands of meeting decision-

When business is good, we need to make it better. That’s what we do.

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