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Contact: Hannah Andrews, 


Groups Unite to Highlight Importance of Jumpstarting Travel to City and Region

During National Travel and Tourism Week

SAN FRANCISCO (MAY 5, 2022)To mark National Travel and Tourism Week, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) joined local hospitality and business industry leaders including the Hotel Council of San Francisco, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and San Francisco Travel Association among others, for a panel discussion about the importance of reigniting travel and tourism in San Francisco.

San Francisco’s tourism industry took a major hit during the pandemic especially business travel. A new report shows hotels in San Francisco lost $1.7 billion in revenue or 70% drop – worst among all major U.S. cities.  However, hospitality leaders are cautiously optimistic on 

AHLA’s President and CEO Chip Rogers said the road to recovery for the hotel will be uneven with leisure travel returning first and business travel taking longer to recover, but remained optimistic about the future of the industry.  He pointed to a recent national survey showing 77% of business travelers say that it is more important than ever to bring back business travel. The same survey showed nearly two-thirds of business travelers said increased reliance on virtual work during the pandemic negatively impacting both productivity (64%) and workplace culture (65%).

“The COVID-19 pandemic has left an indelible mark on travel, but we are optimistic about the future of travel and now is the right time for cities like San Francisco to be promoting the return of travel especially meetings and events. Travel has always been a major economic engine in states like California. Hotels stand ready to continue this role as we emerge from the pandemic.” Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA.

Other participants including SF hospitality and business leaders said they are also optimistic in reigniting travel in San Francisco. 

“While leisure travel has been steadily returning across the city and nation, the outlook for business travel across the region has been bleak, said Kevin Carroll, president and CEO of the Hotel Council of San Francisco. “The return of in-person meetings and business travel will be vital to the industry’s full recovery and today’s panel discussion helped bring this issue to the forefront.” 

“Hotels are an economic engine here in San Francisco,” said Rodney Fong, president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. “From retail to restaurants, businesses across the city benefit when hotels welcome travelers. Hotels and the travel industry provide a lift to all businesses.” 

“As we approach the summer months, San Francisco is preparing to see a boom in leisure travel, said Cassandra Costello, executive vice president of Public Policy and Executive Programs at San Francisco Travel Association. “While we are not quite at pre-pandemic levels, the return of tourists will be welcomed across the leisure and hospitality industry.” 

“California’s economy has faced significant hurdles in the wake of the pandemic, the hospitality industry included,” said Lynn Mohrfeld, president and CEO of the California Hotel & Lodging Association. “Hotels employ over 285,000 Californians and support even more jobs across the broader hospitality industry. The industry’s recovery is essential to California’s economic outlook moving forward.”

“COVID-19 dealt a devastating blow to the hotel industry and after two years of pandemic restrictions, we’re ready to welcome back travelers to California,” said Jon Kimball, Marriott regional general manager of the Westin St. Francis. “I’m delighted to work alongside leaders in the hospitality industry who understand the need to reignite tourism in San Francisco so more travelers can experience the city.” 

“Hotels stand ready to provide travelers with exceptional experiences and will continue to prioritize safety and cleanliness for guests and employees alike, said Terry Lewis, general manager of Hilton San Francisco Union Square Hotel. “Hotels look forward to working with the San Francisco community to reignite travel.” 

The panel discussion was the final event in a series of Reigniting Travel events this week hosted by AHLA across the state of California. AHLA also announced this week the relaunch of the Hospitality is Working campaign. The campaign highlights the hotel industry’s strong commitment to investing in its workforce, protecting employees and guests, and supporting local communities across the country as more Americans begin to travel.