San Diego tourism officials are planning a major advertising blitz in the coming fiscal year to promote the city and environs to prospective vacationers.

Lorin Stewart, the head of the city’s Tourism Marketing District, said the goal was to have paid advertising fetch 900 million impressions and generate 8 million inquiries by potential travelers.

Sunset Cove at Terminal 2. Photo courtesy of San Diego County Regional Airport Authority

Stewart told members of the City Council’s Budget Committee that the TMD would send about $23 million to the San Diego Tourism Authority for the marketing effort.

Tourism promotion was muted over the past year because of a dispute between industry officials and ex-Mayor Bob Filner, who refused to turn over city funds. The city, however, did pay for a network television commercial during the Chargers playoff game against Denver in January.

“We’re using paid media to get San Diego back on the map … in a big way,” Stewart said. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

He said local tourism expert hope to piggyback on marketing plans by the state and the U.S.

“It is great to see San Diego back on the airwaves after a tumultuous 2013,” Councilman Mark Kersey said.

Kersey said there was “tremendous opportunity for international growth” in tourism. Vacationers from outside the United States will look to New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco, but “there’s no reason why we can’t be in that conversation, as well,” he said.

The TMD generates its income by a surcharge on top of hotel room taxes.

Money goes to the tourism authority for promotional purposes and to groups that stage events that bring tourists to San Diego.

Other groups receiving TMD money in 2015 will be the San Diego Bowl Game Association, which stages the Poinsettia and Holiday Bowls; the San Diego Sports Commission; the Competitor Group, which puts on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon; the Century Club, which organizes the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament; the California State Games; the San Diego Crew Classic; San Diego Bayfair, which runs the unlimited hydroplane races on Mission Bay; the Craft Brewers Guild for Beer Week; and the La Jolla Playhouse.

The TMD’s work plan and budget got the green light from the committee and is pending final approval from to the full City Council.

–City News Service

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