This week, San Diego joins destinations across the country in celebrating National Tourism Week, an annual observance of the significant contributions made by the visitor industry to the national and local economy.

Tourism is the backbone of the economy for many communities across the nation; San Diego is no exception. For San Diego County, the significance of tourism is evident all around us. In 2006, 32.2 million visitors came to San Diego and spent approximately $7.7 billion while they were here. Some 164,000 San Diegans worked in fields directly related to the hospitality industry. In San Diego County, $172.7 million was collected in Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenue in fiscal year 2006. By the end of this fiscal year (June 30), the city of San Diego alone is projected to collect $149 million in TOT.

Monies generated by the TOT, paid by overnight hotel/motel guests, help bolster our police and fire departments as well as local arts organizations and community programs. In addition, this visitor paid tax helps fund projects like PETCO Park and the upkeep and support of local landmarks such as Balboa Park and Mission Bay Park.

As you can see, tourism not only benefits hotels, restaurants, and visitor attractions, it also helps to create jobs for San Diegans and underwrites many of our local treasures and vital municipal services. These are just some of the many positive economic benefits our local visitor industry generates for the entire San Diego region. Thanks to tourism, the quality of life of all San Diegans is enhanced.

As the official travel resource for the San Diego region, your San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau (ConVis) is dedicated to promoting San Diego as a premiere convention and leisure travel destination, and we are proud to represent our community to those visiting San Diego for business, a meeting, special event or vacation.

During this National Tourism Week observance, we at ConVis take time out to acknowledge our visitors for the tremendous economic benefit they leave behind. Equally important, we thank our many local partners whose support helps to ensure the success of San Diego’s vibrant visitor industry. And there are many to thank — from elected and appointed officials at the city, county and Port of San Diego, to the countless dedicated volunteers who provide guidance and counsel on tourism promotion, to San Diego’s tireless hospitality community, committed to providing service excellence to our guests.

In addition, we thank you — our fellow San Diegans — for recognizing the importance of tourism to our economy and quality of life.

I welcome your comments, observations and questions regarding San Diego’s dynamic visitor industry.

DAVID PECKINPAUGH

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