Medical Convention Pulls out of San Francisco
A medical convention has decided to pull out from hosting their annual convention in San Francisco. The main deciding factor was due to San Francisco’s homelessness issues and rampant drug use.
“I think that they felt that the condition of our streets was unacceptable to them. They had complaints the last time they were here so obviously this is a big concern for us,” said Joe D’Allesandro, president and CEO of San Francisco Travel Association.
Losing the major medical convention is a huge blow to San Francisco’s local economy. Conventions play a large role in generating tourism income and business for the city.
“Any mid-size convention like this that comes to San Francisco is about $40 million plus loss of business. What’s important, last year, visitors to San Francisco spent $10 billion in our economy and they paid $700 million in local taxes that we have to pay,” D’Allesandro said.
Reports say the unnamed group has decided on Los Angeles to host the convention. The common complaint from convention attendees and members has been that people simply do not feel safe with open drug use, homelessness and unclean streets.
In addition to local businesses, the hotel industry is also feeling the loss.
“A hotel guest that stays in the city not only spends money in the hotel, but they spend more money outside the hotel than they do inside, so we lose a convention that affects the number of employees that work around the hotel the restaurants, the taxes, the businesses around the hotel and the city,” said Kevin Carroll with Hotel Council of San Francisco.
The news has reached the San Francisco’s Mayor’s office, where London Breed issued a statement.
“This is a serious problem for our visitors industry and quite frankly it’s a serious problem for all of us. Addressing unacceptable street behavior and the cleanliness of our streets is among my very top priorities and I’m not waiting around to be sworn in as mayor.”
The problem won’t be a quick fix, so industry leaders are planning to work with local leaders to find a solution.