San Diego on pace to set record for number of visitors

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Tourists visit the Children's Pool in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, California, U.S., on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis is scheduled to release gross domestic product (GDP) figures on Feb. 28. Photographer: Sam Hodgson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

SAN DIEGO — San Diego’s tourism industry is on pace to set calendar-year records for number of visitors, how much money they spent and hotel room tax revenue generated, the San Diego Tourism Authority reported Thursday.

The SDTA, the successor to the Convention and Visitors Bureau, projected that 34.2 million people will visit San Diego by the end of this year, spending $9.9 billion, staying for a combined 16.9 million nights in hotels, and adding $266 million in room tax revenue to local government coffers.

“While San Diego has long been a popular travel destination, the region’s appeal to travelers from around the world continues to grow and strengthen,” said SDTA President and CEO Joe Terzi.

“In ever-increasing numbers, visitors are taking notice of all that San Diego has to offer, from our iconic attractions and world-class museums to our diverse neighborhood experiences and our innovative spirit that creates a dynamic business climate,” he said.

Previously, the SDTA announced that convention bookings reached a 10-year high with commitments for 1 million future hotel room stays.

The increased business comes amid a marketing effort that included an $8.9 million television, print, online and billboard advertising campaign, along with the retention of a marketing representative in Australia.

Tourism promotion was derailed two years ago during a funding fight between the hotel industry and then-Mayor Bob Filner. Advertising didn’t get going again in a major way until 2014.

“We’re very encouraged by the growth of San Diego’s tourism economy over the past couple of years,” said Terzi. “And every San Diegan has a stake in the success of this important industry.”

He pointed out that hotel tax revenue goes into local government general funds, which pay for basic services like public safety and parks.

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