The San Diego Convention Center had a $1.1 billion impact on the regional economy in the fiscal year that ended June 30, according to a report released Tuesday.
The annual report from the San Diego Convention Center Corp., which operates the facility on behalf of the city, said more than 824,000 attendees at meetings and trade shows directly spent $658.7 million, the highest level since 2008. The number of attendees was the fifth highest in the center’s history.
The center hosted 158 events in the 2015-16 fiscal year, down from 172 the previous year.
Major events at the center generated $23.9 million in hotel and sales tax revenue for the city of San Diego’s general fund, the highest level in eight years. The fund pays for basic municipal services.
“Our facility is here to serve as San Diego’s premiere gathering place, hosting meetings, conventions, trade shows and events that drive economic revenue to the city,” said Clifford Rippetoe, the center’s president and CEO. “It’s these revenues that ease the burden on local taxpayers and pay for important services such as police and fire protection, the upkeep of libraries and museums and the maintenance of parks and beaches.”
According to the report, Comic-Con International in July 2015 generated $140 million in economic impact, twice as much as the runner-up, Lightfair International.
The 14 medical associations that met at the center accounted for nearly 30 percent of the economic impact generated during the last fiscal year. Medical groups are highly valued because their attendees spend more money in host cities — in 2015-16, for example, the difference was around $500 per person.
Spending by visitors was broken down to $239.2 million for lodging, $180.6 million in expenses by meeting planners and exhibitors, $79.7 million for food and beverages, $44.8 million for shopping, with the rest spread around transportation, admission to attractions and auto rentals.
While the number of events was lower than the year before, the 2016 fiscal year economic impact was $40 million more, thanks to hosting an additional 16,000 visitors.
—City News Service
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