SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Pride weekend has ended, but not before leaving a lasting impression on tourists who were in town for the celebrations. In fact, the San Francisco Travel Association says it's those kinds of events that are helping to bring tourists back to the city.
The Castro District and most of San Francisco saw one of its busiest Pride weekends in years.
"Things are more back to normal and people are all celebrating, it's lovely," said Jess Koala, a Castro District merchant.
In fact, restaurants in those neighborhoods where tourists gather, did remarkably well.
"The neighborhoods that you would expect to be busy saw some of the their best pre-2019 numbers, Dolores Park, Mission, The Castro and Union Square," explained Laurie Thomas of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association.
The Embarcadero and Fisherman's Wharf also saw good numbers.
The San Francisco Travel Association reported that The Pride Parade and other big events are driving the city's economic recovery.
"We're seeing rapid recovery year over year and festivals like this are what continues that recovery to San Francisco," said Cassandra Costello with SF Travel.
She says people are coming back. In 2021, there were 17 million visitors in San Francisco. One year later in 2022, that number jumped to 21.9 million and now the projection for 2023 is 23.9 million from both domestic and especially international travelers.
"We see incredible growth in Mexico, Canada, the U.K. and Germany as well as India as our fast emerging market," added Costello.
A campaign ad showing San Francisco's best features, seems to be reaching targeted audiences in the U.S. and abroad despite the city's recent troubles.
"We're not going to let us deter us. It's still a beautiful city," expressed Hope Arguijo who was celebrating her wedding anniversary alongside her partner.
"We're used to it. We have a similar things in England. There is always crime and homelessness so you just try to keep yourself safe," explained an English tourist who identified herself as Kate.
"As where San Francisco used to have a good reputation, I have to say I was a little bit concerned," said John Harrington, also from the UK.
"It's not unsafe everywhere but we still have challenges - we know that. So, we're not out of the woods yet. We had a very tough three years," said Thomas of the restaurant association.
In fact, the city is forecasting to be back to pre-pandemic tourist numbers by the year 2026.
If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live