SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Mayor London Breed has embarked on a trip to several cities in Europe to showcase San Francisco as a tourist destination as the city seeks to recover two years after the COVID-19 pandemic began.
According to a statement from Breed’s office, the mayor will visit London, Brussels, Frankfurt and Paris during her 10-day trip.
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“We have a lot of work to do to revive our economy, and we need to do everything we can to bring visitors back to this city,” Breed said.
Breed is to meet with representatives from airlines and airports. The mayor is also expected to hold meetings with local officials, including with Paris mayor and French presidential candidate Anne Hidalgo.
“Tourism is so essential to providing jobs and support for our restaurants, hotels, small businesses and arts, as well as the income that allows us to provide all the support and services to those who need it,” continued the mayor. . “My focus right now is to lift this city up and make sure everyone sees that we’re focused on recovery as we come out of this pandemic.”
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The trip comes nearly two years after the fast-spreading coronavirus caused unprecedented shelter-in-place orders and closures in the Bay Area and across California, forcing many tourism businesses to close.
According to the mayor’s office, jobs in the hospitality industry in San Francisco have only recovered 53%, while jobs in the arts, recreation and entertainment industry have recovered 62%. In the agro-food industry, jobs have recovered by 82%.
Officials said San Francisco International Airport was also among the hardest hit during the pandemic, due to the loss of international travel. In December, about a month after restrictions on international travel were lifted, international boardings were only 40% of pre-pandemic levels.
“San Francisco has always been one of the country’s most popular destinations for international visitors, and we know people are ready to travel again,” said SF Travel President and CEO Joe D. ‘Alexandro.
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Tourism officials will accompany the mayor on the trip. Breed’s trips abroad are funded by the airport, which is independent of the city’s general fund, officials said.