Toni Knorr on keeping The City a tourist mecca 

Toni Knorr is the board of directors chairwoman of the San Francisco Travel Association. Knorr has a keen interest in The City’s tourism industry as the general manager of the St. Regis hotel, 125 Third St.

Who has been the biggest inspiration in your life?

My mother: total can-do attitude about life, with a very charming, curious nature.

Where do you find motivation?

Anywhere and everywhere. I am very competitive and love team sports — college football — so collaborating with my hotel team keeps me motivated as their leader and as chair of the San Francisco Travel Association, the fantastic teams around all of our work keep me focused and running!

Whom do you look to for support during tough times?

My family and closest friends. They are good listeners and counsel with slightly different views, all wanting to be there for me and wanting the best for me.

Is there a notable challenge you’ve had to overcome in your life?

I think most people have some tough things they have had to work through in their lives. I believe it’s important to address challenges head-on and tackle each of them independently. And I’ve come to realize that with each challenge, we evolve and grow.

What is your philosophy in both work and life?

To be genuine in your relationships with people and demonstrate a caring attitude and work hard for positive results. Doors will then open to you as opportunities arise, and be willing to take some risks, they always pay off.

What one book or piece of writing has had an impact on you?

“An Episode of Sparrows” by Rumer Godden. Inspiring story written in 1956, set in post-war London.

What motivated you to get involved with the Travel Association?

I have called San Francisco home since 1992, having traveled here many times since my first visit in 1972. I have felt if we all work together to bring travelers to this city, as I had years ago, we could continue to prosper and provide a great legacy for those who come after. This organization is spirited, focused and intent on presenting to the world the very best of what is San Francisco.

How will you attempt to improve The City’s hospitality industry in the current economy?

We continuously work with and for our San Francisco customers every day. The board of directors of this organization are committed and dedicated professionals in our travel industry. Together, we continue to implement tactics to keep us No. 1 in the hearts and minds of all who plan and wish to travel here. All of our programs and marketing work focus on the new experiences we can provide, while polishing the tried and true favorites. Our research suggests over and over we have a winning combination of iconic sights, neighborhood treasures and diverse cultural appeal.

What would you like to see in San Francisco that’s not already here?

Cleaner streets and beautification projects expanded. Our visitors still complain about the streetscapes not being as welcoming as some of our competing U.S. cities.

Do you think San Francisco has an advantage over other cities?

Yes, we do. This city is beloved, inside and out, voted the No. 1 city to visit in the U.S. for 18 consecutive years by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine. San Francisco evokes a very special passion. It’s fun, exciting, daring and dramatic. Few cities can claim to have what comes so naturally to us here.

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Steve Drumwright

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