The city of San Francisco wants you, and your friends and family, to come visit this year.
Now, to remind you of everything San Francisco has to offer tourists, the San Francisco Travel Association has launched a $6 million ad campaign to promote tourism. Called “Always San Francisco,” the campaign is aimed at leisure travelers and meeting planners alike in major domestic markets and key international markets.
There’s even a campaign video showcasing iconic San Francisco attractions such as the Golden Gate Bridge and cable cars, as well as the city’s vibrant neighborhoods and wide range of visitor experiences.
Be sure to look for cameos from various San Franciscans including Lady Camden of RuPaul’s Drag Race, artist Sirron Norris, dancers from the acclaimed AXIS Dance Company, musicians Mae Powell and Michael O’Konis, Chinatown lion dancers, and chefs from the Michelin-starred Angler restaurant.
“Tourism is vital to the city’s economic recovery, and ‘Always San Francisco’ is designed to drive increased visitation by showing the authentic San Francisco experience people love and dream about,” Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of San Francisco Travel, said in a statement.
Why The Campaign Is Needed
There’s no other way to put this: Downtown San Francisco has struggled in recent years with rising homelessness, drug use, and crime.
Indeed, Park Hotels & Resorts cited those factors and others when it recently announced it will stop payments on the $725 million loan for its 1,921-room Hilton San Francisco Union Square and 1,024-room Parc 55 San Francisco hotels, surrendering them to its lender.
Downtown San Francisco also faces a high level of office vacancies and a number of store closings. Nordstrom, for instance, has announced it will close both of its downtown stores, and 20-some other high-profile stores have left the city’s downtown area since 2020, according to CNN.
On the other hand, post-pandemic tourism in San Francisco certainly is on the rebound, although, it isn’t quite growing like it is in other parts of California.
For instance, San Francisco Travel’s annual forecast calls for 23.9 million visitors spending $8.9 billion this year. That will be an increase of $1 billion compared to 2022. However, that number is still down 90 percent from what visitors spent in the pre-pandemic year of 2019, according to SFGate.
Always San Francisco’s Appeal
When it comes to advertising, one of San Francisco’s strengths is that the city is so well known.
“The campaign evokes the emotional joy visitors find here,” Lynn Bruni-Perkins, San Francisco Travel’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement.
“San Francisco will always be San Francisco,” she continued. “It is ever-changing, but the feeling of San Francisco remains constant. Its epic beauty, iconic landmarks, diverse people, and larger-than-life moments stay with you forever.”
Interestingly, San Francisco Travel collaborated with local and San Francisco-connected musicians to “reimagine” Judy Garland’s well-known rendition of the song “San Francisco” for the ad campaign.
“We chose a soundtrack that matched the campaign’s energy and uplifting message and tapped into San Francisco’s legendary local music scene to reimagine the song,” said Bruni-Perkins. “The result is a beautiful artistic collaboration true to San Francisco’s spirit.”
The domestic campaign, which targets New York City, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Houston, will be seen on TV as well as across social media through October 22. The “Always San Francisco” international campaign will target prospective travelers in Australia, India, Asia Pacific, Europe, Canada, and Mexico.
You can learn more about San Francisco, including finding information about things to do, where to stay, restaurants, and how to plan a trip to visit, at Always San Francisco.
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