Chicago-based medical association cancels San Francisco convention

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The homeless encampments and drug addicts have become more visible to tourists, at times overshadowing the many landmarks that make San Francisco unique.

Groups that hold their conventions here continue to take notice.

"And it's not just groups but also a lot of individual travelers. We hear a lot from individual travelers that have come here and have had negative experiences on the streets and say they don't want to come back to San Francisco, said Joe D'Alessandro, President and CEO of the San Francisco Travel Association.

Chicago has the most medical associations in the country. One of those associations heard from its members about how unsafe they felt in San Francisco, so they will no longer hold future conventions here.

Conventions held at Moscone pour about $1.7 billion into the local economy.

The fear is that once a group decides to withdraw, other event planners across the country may reconsider.

"This medical association decided not to go because they felt it was unsafe so why did you pick this particular venue, why didn't you pick a venue that was safe, certainly more affordable and easier to access, said Rob Enderle, a tech industry analyst.

The San Francisco Travel Association is optimistic about the momentum of the city's incoming mayor.

"It's one issue that the people of San Francisco agree, it's one issue that visitors agree about and we really need to tackle it head on to make a difference, expressed D'Alessandro.
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