U.S. Open fans descend on Bay Area sites where tourists rarely tread 

click to enlarge Golf fans could help pump millions of dollars into the San Francisco and Peninsula economies. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • Golf fans could help pump millions of dollars into the San Francisco and Peninsula economies.

The official start of the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club will be welcomed by businesses in Daly City and southwest San Francisco, locations that don’t typically see the tourist activity enjoyed by other parts of the Bay Area.

Although many of the 50,000 people expected to attend each day of the golf tournament will stay in the usual downtown hotel hot spots, rooms near San Francisco International Airport also are able to charge higher rates and boost occupancy, according to the San Francisco Travel Association. The travel group also hailed the U.S. Open for its ability to draw a wealthy demographic likely to spread ample dollars across a wide swath of The City and the Peninsula.

“The impact of the U.S. Open is broad, and it certainly has international appeal,” said Joe D’Alessandro, S.F. Travel’s CEO. “People stay in a wide range of hotels in the area.”

D’Alessandro added that images of San Francisco landmarks such as Coit Tower and the Golden Gate Bridge — shown during the tournament’s TV broadcast — will also bring untold benefits to the area.

“Maybe some people watching had never thought of San Francisco as a golf destination, so this really does help position us,” D’Alessandro said. “We can’t even buy this type of exposure.”

Restaurants — the other chief beneficiary of tourism besides hotels — also are gearing up for a busy week. Two Daly City eateries say they’re bringing in extra staff to handle the crowds. Tables have been filling up in recent days, even with the tournament only in practice rounds.

“We’ve had more business, yes,” said Rick Lynch, manager of Joe’s of Westlake. “We notice that a lot of them are local people, but we’re expecting more visitors soon.”

San Francisco business groups are warning visitors that the area lacks ample parking, so shuttles are available from the parking lot of Candlestick Park and from the Colma BART station.

The Bay Area Council, an economic think tank, doesn’t have hard figures on the overall influx of cash from the U.S. Open, but spokesman Rufus Jeffris said it’s fair to assume the event will match or exceed the $142 million it was estimated to have brought to San Diego in 2008. Jeffris also noted that the type of visitors who turn out is a major factor in the economic impact.

“Price points might not be as big a concern for them as for others,” Jeffris said. “And in general, this is great. It’s not every day you have tens of thousands of new visitors in your area.”


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