Fleet week, Giants playoffs help Bay Area tourism rebound

From baseball to high soaring jets, this weekend’s full slate of events in San Francisco, offered a big boost to tourism.

"It was wonderful. It was great to see the Wharf back in action. It was great to see the City back in action," said Stefan Muhle, managing director of Hotel Zoe and Hotel Argonaut in Fisherman’s Wharf.

Area hotels saw a surge in bookings over the weekend, as visitors arrived to see the jaw dropping acrobatics of Fleet Week’s Blue Angels. Others arrived to the City to catch game one and two of the historic series between the San Francisco Giants and the L.A. Dodgers at Oracle Park.

"It was a constant draw from mornings until late afternoon, and evenings," said Muhle.
"And then you have a cruise ship coming into port which helps too. It brings more traffic into the neighborhood. More foot traffic."

The Majestic Princess arrived at port Monday morning, marking the return of cruise ships to San Francisco after a 19 month hiatus brought on by the pandemic. Their presence is expected to provide a long term boost to tourism dollars, as the ships dock with new customers for restaurants and hotels.

"You’re going to want that clam chowder. You’re going to want that dungeness crab and what better way to have it then to sit in one of the restaurants that are right on the water and you can see the fishermen bring in the catch of the day," said Muhle.

SEE ALSO: Inside look at the fleet behind Fleet Week

Another region, which is booming with visitors, arriving for its local fare right now, is Napa Valley.

"This is our most active part of the year. The harvest season is well underway," said Linsey Gallagher, president of Visit Napa Valley.

Napa Valley, which was recently further impacted by devastating wildfires, is eyeing a return to near pre-pandemic visitation.

"We’re within striking distance, from a hotel occupancy point, of 2019 levels, however, our revenue is pacing ahead of 2019 and so I think that’s a phenomena we’re hearing is not just us in Napa Valley. Hotel rates are a little bit high all around California. People don’t have as many options as they used to in terms of traveling abroad," said Gallagher.

In San Francisco, Kevin Carroll, who heads up the Hotel Council of San Francisco agreed that tourism is on upswing, but added that the lack of business travelers at the moment is still creating a major hole in the industry.

"In order to have a full recovery we’ll have to have both the tourism, business travelers, and the convention business. So we’re optimistic. We think we’re going to be seeing more and more people coming to the City, but we are also realistic knowing that it’s going to be several years until we see a full recovery," said Carroll.