SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — The San Francisco tourism industry has been hit hard by the pandemic but it will get at least a small boost from Salesforce’s Dreamforce Convention at Moscone Center this week.
Dreamforce is typically the biggest convention in town, attracting roughly 170,000 attendees each year. This year, it has been scaled down because of the COVID surge from the delta variant. Hundreds of people are expected to attend the event which is invitation-only and requires proof of vaccination.
The three-day tech convention starts Tuesday — just the second convention at Moscone Center since the pandemic began.
The Foo Fighters will kick off the Dreamforce convention with live music and speakers include actors Will Smith and Jane Fonda.
“Bring it on, we’re ready! We’re open. We’re ready for people to come back,” said Forest French, general manager at Tabletop Tap House across from Moscone Center.
The sports bar and restaurant was shuttered for 14 months. They just reopened three months ago.The manager said they’re normally closed on Tuesday but will open this Tuesday thanks to the convention.
“It’s a start, it’s going to be a slow start but it is a start,” French said.
Nearby, at Joyride Pizza, the workers were also hoping for extra foot traffic.
“What I’m looking forward to is definitely having more events, having more people come here and enjoy this area,” said Joyride Pizza bartender Dean Cotrone.
What’s good for businesses is good for workers. Some of the them at the convention told KPIX they recently emerged from unemployment to work their first convention since COVID-19 struck.
“Happy to be here — 14-hour days, time and a half in overtime — it’s money!” said LaTonya Hartman, who’s working security at the Dreamforce convention.
Joe D’Alessandro is CEO and president of San Francisco Travel. He said the high vaccination rates in the city will encourage other companies to host conventions here.
“Salesforce puts a lot of emphasis on this globally, so that’s important. Secondly, it’s important to tell the world that San Francisco is open. It’s open for business, you’re welcome to come here, it’s safe to come and meet here,” D’Alessandro said.
He said this convention, even if it’s downsized, is a step in the right direction for the San Francisco tourism industry.