SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Two major tech companies decided to cancel their San Francisco Moscone Center conferences. Software company Red Hat and Bay Area's Meta are no longer coming to the city in 2024.
"It's not something we are going to turn around quickly. There are certainly companies, organizations that are deciding not to hold their events in San Francisco. We will probably see more of that," said Rufus Jeffris, Bay Area Council spokesperson.
A financial hit that is no surprise for the San Francisco Travel Association. According to their projections:
"2024 continues to be a particularly challenging year for conventions in San Francisco. Although 2023 is a robust convention year, 2024 is estimated to actualize about 60% of the average," said Jeffris.
Bocado, a Peruvian restaurant across from Moscone Center opened less than 2 months ago. They chose this location with convention traffic in mind.
"It's kind of scary but hopefully tourism will start coming back up and things will start coming back alive. These two events were super big so I don't know how it's going to affect us. I don't think it will be in a positive way obviously," said Alex Aviles, Bocado restaurant co-owner.
Aviles is hopeful that their menu will attract more locals. The same goes for the barbershop across from Moscone Center. They are also hoping for more foot traffic.
"A lot of business around here has been slow due to other businesses closing due to maybe COVID, but that convention always brought a lot of business and people here," said Ron Montgomery, barber at The District Barbers.
We contacted Meta and Red Hat and have not gotten a response. Yet, the Bay Area Council says safety challenges don't help San Francisco.
"Some of the issues in San Francisco is working hard to address. Obviously some issues of safety or cleanliness in the streets. Social problems that we are seeing on the streets are frankly a result of not only the pandemic and the after effects of that but many decades of failed policies," said Jeffris.
According to the San Francisco Travel Association, this year 36 events are confirmed at Moscone Center and conventions will account for over 66,000 hotel room nights in 2023.
"The good news is that every year after 2024 shows steady growth, with 2028 and beyond trending to be above 90% of the average," said Lori Lincoln with SF Travel.
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