Tourism biz seeing changes

The terrorist attacks of 2001 are now nearly six years past, and the rising tide of a recovering tourism industry is helping the small businesses operating within it.

But that’s about all these companies have in common. With each focusing on a different niche, each faces a different landscape.

Tourism is The City’s largest industry, and approximately 80 percent of the San Francisco Convention and Visitor’s Bureau’s 1,800 member organizations fall into the “small business” category of 500 or fewer employees, bureau Executive VP Dan Goldes said. The firms include small hotels, restaurants, tour guides and a host of other services.

“The tapestry of the visitor industry is a lot richer than a lot of people think about,” Goldes said. “With hotels, you know that a large percentage of their clientele is from out of town. It may be a lesser percentage at a retail store or a restaurant, but it could be the difference between turning a loss and … a profit.”

Among the small businesses that are thriving is the 10-year-old Parker Guest House, a Church Street bed and breakfast specializing in gay and lesbian travelers. It has been doing brisk business and is generally sold out two weeks to a month in advance for weekend travel, co-owner Bill Boeddiker said.

At the same time, other bed and breakfasts have disappeared from the landscape, sold as high-priced homes due to rising real estate costs, according to the Professional Association of Innkeepers International and the California Association of Bed and Breakfast Inns, which is keeping an eye on the trend.

“As a seller, it’s folly for us to reduce the value of our property to make it affordable to a buyer as a B and B,” said Dottie Musser, who is selling the Bradford Place Inn & Gardens in Sonora. She’s offering to sell the business, but she said it might very well be bought as a house.

Meanwhile, other travel fields such as tour guide work and convention photography are growing more competitive, Wok Wiz Chinatown Tours proprietor Shirley Fong-Torres and photographer Dave Bush said.

Photographing multimillion-dollar conventions has emerged as a high-profit form of photography, Bush said. As a result, it is becoming crowded with photographers from other fields whose work has been hit hard by the digital revolution, he said.

Fong-Torres said that despite an increase in tour operators, her business hosting walking and food tours of Chinatown remains strong. But she makes very sure to maintain marketing and business connections, working with tour operators and making media appearances, she said.

kwilliamson@examiner.com

businessBusiness & Real Estate

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Demonstrators commemorated the life of George Floyd and others killed by police outside S.F. City Hall on June 1, 2020.<ins></ins>
Chauvin verdict: SF reacts after jury finds ex-officer guilty on all charges

San Franciscans were relieved Tuesday after jurors found a former Minneapolis police… Continue reading

San Francisco Unified School District Board member Faauuga Moliga, right, pictured with Superintendent Vincent Matthews on the first day back to classrooms, will be board vice president for the remander of the 2121 term. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Faauuga Moliga named as school board vice president to replace Alison Collins

The San Francisco school board on Tuesday selected board member Fauuga Moliga… Continue reading

Legislation by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman would require The City to add enough new safe camping sites, such as this one at 180 Jones St. in the Tenderloin, to accomodate everyone living on the street. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City would create sites for hundreds of tents under new homeless shelter proposal

Advocates say funding better spent on permanent housing

An instructor at Sava Pool teaches children drowning prevention techniques. (Jordi Molina/ Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Indoor city pools reopen for lap swimming and safety classes

Two of San Francisco’s indoor city pools reopened Tuesday, marking another step… Continue reading

A construction worker rides on top of materials being transported out of the Twin Peaks Tunnel as work continues at West Portal Station on Thursday, August 16, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA’s poor track record on capital projects risks losing ‘public trust’

Supervisors say cost overruns and delays could jeapordize future ballot revenue measures

Most Read