Local tourism expected to increase in next five years

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

San Diego Tourism Marketing District AdSAN DIEGO — A five-year forecast for San Diego’s tourism industry released Friday sees continued moderate growth ahead.

The Tourism Economics San Diego County Travel Forecast projects that by the time 2013 is over, a total of 16.4 million overnight visitors will have come to the region, about 300,000 more than last year. The figure should grow by 400,000 people next year and top out at 17.6 million visitors in 2017, the report says.

Those visitors will spend $7.5 million this year, compared to $7.1 million last year. The forecast for 2014 is $7.9 million in spending and for 2017 it’s $9.2 million.

Hotel occupancy is expected to be around 73-74 percent through 2017, the report says.

The forecast assumes a “business as usual” marketing effort by area tourism officials. A major marketing campaign planned for this past summer was scrapped by a dispute over funding between ex-Mayor Bob Filner and area hoteliers.

Last month, the City Council amended a contract with the city’s Tourism Marketing District to free up $6 million to promote San Diego as a vacation destination.

Growth in visitation in the third quarter of this year was just 0.7 percent over the same time period last year, according to the report.

The outlook also assumes a stronger U.S. economy, with higher consumer spending, a stronger labor market, improved business investment, a stronger housing market, low inflation and a continued energy boom.