Macworld attendees fill hotels, eateries

San Francisco tourism boomed this week as a result of the well-attended Macworld Expo. With 50,000 pre-registered attendees, and scores more registering on-site, the event drew crowds both inside and outside Moscone Center.

“It’s a really great thing for The City,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau. “January would be a really soft month, especially the second week after the holidays. ”

Last year, the conference’s economic impact was $26 million, according to D’Allesandro. This year, its impact is estimated at more than $36 million. Final numbers were not available while the event, which wraps up today, was still in progress.

Some say the increase in attendees, expected to be up from 45,000 last year, is in part due to last year’s announcement of the iPhone.

“There’s a hangover from the buzz of the iPhone announcement,” said Charlotte McCormack, public relations manager for event producer IDG World Expo. “There was a lot of anticipation for the event.”

D’Allesandro estimated 35,000 hotel room nights were booked for the event, with several hotels sold out months before the conference. The San Francisco Marriott on Fourth Street, the host hotel, was sold out to Macworld attendees weeks in advance.

“There are about 450 rooms on a given night sold to Macworld,” said Tamra Howes, Marriott marketing director. “We’re sold out.”

Restaurants are also reporting high sales numbers, with the Chevy’s on Third Street estimating $21,000 in sales Tuesday alone.

“It’s busy,” General Manager Kevin Scott said. “We love having the conference.”

While many people attending the conference are Bay Area residents, thousands come from around the world.

The Macworld Expo ranks among the top 10 conferences held annually in San Francisco, D’Allesandro said. The American Dental Association recently attracted 50,000 people, and in November, Oracle’s OpenWorld conference brought in 45,000 attendees.

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