This weekend’s annual LGBT Pride Festival and Parade will have a multi-million dollar impact on San Diego’s economy as thousands of people visit the signature event.
A study by the San Diego State University Center for Hospitality and Tourism Research released Thursday showed that the 2014 event attracted 19,500 people from out of town and made a $10.9 million economic impact.
“This study reveals that San Diego Pride is an important cultural celebration as well as an economic driver that supports jobs, tourism and local businesses,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer at a press conference releasing the study. “SDSU‘s economic impact report shows that even though other cities may have their own celebrations, San Diego remains a premier destination when it comes to Pride festivities.”
According to the report, the 2014 impact was comprised of $5.67 million of direct impact — spending by visitors for hotel rooms, shopping, entertainment and food — and $5.27 million of indirect impact thanks to the extra business generated by Pride activities. Other highlights of the report:
- San Diego Pride attracted 2,000 international visitors
- More than 48 percent of visitors to San Diego stayed in a hotel during their visit for an average of 2.5 room nights at $170 per night
- An estimated 10,900 hotel room nights were sold to visitors attending pride events
- The city earned $95,000 in additional sales tax revenue
The annual event also attracts widespread support in the political and business communities. A typical example is wireless giant Qualcomm, which expects a 400-person contingent to join the parade — the 18th year the company has participated.
CEO Steve Mollenkopf and a number of other top executives will march in the parade, accompanied by a large helium balloon and two shuttle buses. Qualcomm is involved because of its desire to attract the most innovative team, said David Whittaker, an employee and president of the internal eQuality group.
Qualcomm’s participation shows diverse employees that “they are valued and they can bring their authentic selves to work,” Whittaker said.
That sentiment is echoed throughout the San Diego business community.
“Pride showcases San Diego as a diverse and supportive community that values inclusion, an important aspect of economic development and growth,” said Jerry Sanders, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.
This year’s Pride event begins Friday night with a block party in Hillcrest and the Spirit of Stonewall rally in Balboa Park. The rally commemorates riots in 1969 in New York against police abuse.
The Pride Parade is on Saturday in Hillcrest. The music festival, at Marston Point in Balboa Park, is headlined by Kesha, scheduled to perform on the main stage Saturday beginning at 7:55 p.m.
“People in 37 states and 14 countries have already purchased tickets to this weekend’s Pride Music Festival,” said Pride Executive Director Stephen Whitburn. “San Diego is among the world’s most LGBT-friendly cities, and our festival is in beautiful Balboa Park, so San Diego Pride attracts people from around the globe.”
City News Service contributed to this article.
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