Bay Area

Report: San Francisco convention canceled over dirty streets, homeless

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) - A large medical convention that has been coming to San Francisco since the 1980s is looking for a new host city because of the dirty streets and the homeless issue plaguing the area, according to San Francisco Travel, the city's convention and visitors bureau.

KRON4 spoke with the executive director of the hotel council of San Francisco.

It represents the hotels and their guests.

They are very worried what this could mean for the hotels in San Francisco and all the businesses touched by tourism dollars when the big conventions come in town.

"When these things leave, it affects all of us--the taxi, the hotel, the restaurant," Hotel Council of San Francisco Executive Director Kevin Carroll said. "We need to be concerned."

SF Travel does not want to name the five-day trade show that draws 15,000 attendees and pumps about $40 million into the local economy because they are hoping to lure them back in the future. The convention told SF travel "that they loved the city, but post-convention surveys revealed their members were afraid to walk the streets amid the open drug use, threatening behavior and mental illness that are common on the streets."

San Francisco's biggest industry is tourism. It brings in $9 billion a year, creates 80,000 jobs, and generates more than $725 million in local taxes.

Conventions represent about $1.7 billion of the industry. 

"We all know there is a problem, and now, we need to work toward a solution," Carroll said.

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