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San Diego tourism, retail recovering faster than expected

Posted at 12:10 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 20:31:04-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego hotels and retailers are anticipated to generate a combined $45 million in tax revenue above what the city projected for the fiscal year, according to a new city report.

The city's midyear budget update projected San Diego hotels would generate $24.4 million in transient occupancy tax above original projections, a 25.6 percent boost over the budgeted $95.5 million. Through sales tax, retailers and restaurants would bring the city an additional $20.3 million in revenue, a 6.3 percent boost over the $320.8 million anticipated.

"This variance and increase are primarily the result of continued positive business performance from the summer months through the holidays as well as the continued economic recovery and continued consumer confidence over the past year," Chris Purcell, the city's financial operations manager, said at a Budget committee meeting Feb. 2.

Jeffrey Burg, general manager of the Gaslamp Marriott, said things have improved significantly as of late, given an increase in events and business meetings. However, he said the full return of conventions is needed to get hotels higher occupancy midweek.

"We are seeing pick up more and more every day. We're no longer seeing the cancellations that impacted us at the fourth wave of the Omicron variant," he said. "I think the feeling from our guests and our staff is we're heading in the right direction."

The Convention Center has 85 events on its calendar for 2022, with attendance at 50 to 60 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Julie Coker, who heads the San Diego Tourism Authority, anticipated a full recovery by 2024, when international, leisure and convention travel returns.

"What I can say is that I think each month we are improving and we are not seeing the cancellations that other cities are seeing for meetings and conventions and that is a big positive for San Diego," she said.

If the increase holds, the city would be able to save an additional $29 million in Coronavirus stimulus funds to aid in the recovery in future years. It's expected to end the 2021-22 fiscal year with a $2.2 million surplus.