A Week in the Spotlight

A Week in the Spotlight

As San Francisco Small Business Week culminates with Shop Your Neighborhood on Saturday, International Pow Wow will kick-off and continue through Wednesday. Hosted by the U.S. Travel Association in partnership with the San Francisco Travel Association and with support from the Chamber and other organizations, the event is poised to deliver a big boost to the city’s tourism industry and economy for decades to come.

As a city that relies on tourism to help fuel its economy, San Francisco is fortunate to host this year’s Pow Wow. The event will bring 1,500 international and domestic tour operators from 70 countries to “shop” the largest travel industry trade show in North America. These buyers will participate in 70,000 pre-set appointments with some 3,500 exhibitors from across the country. An estimated $3.5 billion of future U.S. travel business is negotiated between buyers and sellers during the five-day event.

But no single city will benefit more than San Francisco. As the 2011 host city, the U.S. Travel Association estimates San Francisco will realize $350 million in international travel business over the 2-4 years following this year’s event. This will be a significant and welcome boost to the city’s tourism-supported industries at a critical time in our city’s economic recovery.

Pow Wow is also an opportunity to showcase San Francisco and its many new attractions to the world. More than 300 international and 100 domestic journalists are attending – all of whom will have their eyes and cameras focused on our city’s newest sights and attractions. As the city prepares to host the America’s Cup, this positive media exposure may help to further attract visitors in advance of the sailing regattas, which are already expected to draw up to 200,000 spectators on high-profile weekend race days.

The economic payoff of Pow Pow is considerable, and San Francisco is rightfully pulling out all the stops to ensure a spectacular experience for all attending. For only the second time in its history, Pier 39 will close to the public for this weekend’s opening night celebration. More than 500 taxi drivers have been armed with “Pow Wow in a Box,” including buttons and information to help welcome attendees. And exclusive events will be held throughout the week by institutions including the California Academy of Sciences, de Young Fine Arts Museum and San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

San Francisco is already a top travel destination. But International Pow Wow gives us an important opportunity to solidify our status and help grow our city’s largest industry for years to come. The Chamber thanks the San Francisco Travel Association and the many organizations that have worked to bring International Pow Wow to San Francisco and prepare our city for a week in the spotlight.