By Anna Duckworth

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – After being devastated by the recession, San Francisco’s tourism industry is beginning to turn things around.

At Tuesday’s 7th Annual Northern California Visitor Industry Outlook and Marketing Conference, San Francisco Travel Association President and CEO Joe D’Alessandro said visitors to the city spent nearly $8.5 billion, up almost 10 percent over 2010.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

“2011 has beat expectations and far exceeded what predictions were that the year was going to be,” he said.

D’Alessandro said the growth was seen in both business and leisure travel.

“The international numbers to San Francisco were very, very strong. About 40 percent of our visitors now come from different countries, which really makes a big difference,” said D’Alessandro. “They tend to stay longer and spend more money.”

D’Alessandro said he is optimistic that the upswing will continue in 2012 as San Francisco is hosting events such as the 75th anniversaries of the Golden Gate Bridge and Stern Grove Festival along with the U.S. Open and America’s Cup.

St. Regis Hotel general manager Toni Knorr credits the industry with being more creative in marketing to draw in visitors.

“If you include breakfast with the offer and they feel like they’re getting something there or if you do a discount off your parking rate, you just start repackaging the product,” Knorr said.

San Francisco hotel revenue went up 20 percent in 2011, the highest growth of any other city in the country.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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