Dreamforce begins this week, SF at risk of losing conference due to homelessness, drug-use

Dreamforce is back at the Moscone Center this week. The big Salesforce conference brings 40,000 people to San Francisco

But Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff told the San Francisco Chronicle this could be the last time the conference is held in the city if it's impacted by the city's growing homeless population or problems surrounding open-air drug use

The city is preparing to welcome tech leaders, artificial intelligence experts, and celebrities for Dreamforce. Attendees are set to start arriving on Monday, with the actual conference starting Tuesday. 

"This is a huge welcome boost to San Francisco for our accommodations, for our restaurants. This is a conference that’s going to bring over $90 million in economic impact. We’re thrilled to be rolling out the red carpet for those attendees," said Cassandra Costello, chief policy and external affairs officer at the San Francisco Travel Association.

Thousands of attendees will be staying downtown and exploring the city. 

Many will walk right past Sana'a Cafe, a new business with traditional coffee recipes from Yemen. 

"We’re looking forward to it," said manager Sadeq Alaqel.

Alaqel is hoping to see a big boom in the family business with the conference just a couple blocks away. 

"We’re hoping this is their first stop. And since they’re going to be here for a while, to see them come back more often. And to spread the word," he said.  

The future of the convention is in jeopardy due to growing concerns about drug use and homelessness in the city. If those issues affect the conference, Benioff says it might find another host city. 

But the San Francisco Travel Association says that's not what visitors see. 


SF officials work to ensure 'Dreamforce 2023' goes off without a hitch

The head of Salesforce says the future of the Dreamforce conference depends on the upcoming convention. Dreamforce draws tens of thousands of visitors to San Francisco, and now the head of Salesforce has made comments that have put the future of that convention into question.

"People are coming here saying, ‘I’m seeing these sensationalized headlines. They just didn’t meet the wonderful experience we had here.’ In fact, in our last visitor sentiment survey 92% of those who visited San Francisco said that they want to come back to San Francisco," said Costello. 

Alaqel says those issues might not affect the area near Moscone Center right now, but they will if something doesn't change. 

"If the city and the mayor don’t take action, we’re going to see these companies and these events kind of leave the city. And that’s very sad, we don’t want that to happen," said Alaqel.

Benioff has been vocal about the problems facing San Francisco. In the past, he has said Dreamforce attendees have emailed him to complain about the amount of homeless people near the event. 

In his interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, he said it's in all of our interest for Dreamforce to go well. 

This conference sets the stage for San Francisco to host APEC, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders' Meeting, in November. 

"We want to make sure that conferences from now until the end of the year, and big events like APEC, like World Cup, like Super Bowl, all putting us on the international stage, all have that same level of a great experience. So we’re working with all the CEOs and boards of these conferences to make sure they have a great experience when they come to San Francisco," said Costello.