Press Release: City of San Diego’s First Master Plan for Tourism

October 13, 2017

Experience San Diego Destination 2040 Sets Bold Goals to Increase TOT

San Diego, CA– The first destination master plan in the history of San Diego has been activated and trademarked as “Experience San Diego Destination 2040.” This comprehensive plan involved months of work from a diverse group of San Diego leaders representing many sectors. They have –- and will –- continue to work toward the common goal of growing the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) through increasing visitor spending, which in turn will enhance the quality of life for all San Diegans.

The TOT is a tax on visitor hotel nights. These funds produce a revenue stream that is used for infrastructure, street repair, parks, public safety, homeless services, the environment and much more.

Experience San Diego Destination 2040 (also known as the San Diego 20-Year Destination Master Plan) is funded by the San Diego Tourism Marketing District (SDTMD). The organization’s assessment of all City hotels with 70 rooms or more provides revenue that fuels tourism marketing initiatives, which increases hotel room night stays and visitor spending across the City.

SDTMD Chair and General Manager of the Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter Scott Hermes stated the following: “Tourism is among the top three economic drivers in the City of San Diego. Experience San Diego identifies how a dramatic increase in tourism will directly increase revenue streams to our City and overall economy. We like to think of this activated plan as a juggernaut that will benefit the community for years to come.”

The Experience San Diego Steering Committee is comprised of 16 leaders representing tourism, business, government, education and civic engagement industries. It was created to activate the plan tenets and maximize San Diego’s — as yet untapped — potential as a premier destination.

“Our steering committee has set the bar pretty high,” said Experience San Diego Chair Patti Roscoe, who is a long-time tourism and business leader. “Our Declaration for Success is to grow the TOT to $1.3 billion over the next five years and reach $948 million per year by 2040.”

Experience San Diego Destination 2040 focuses on the following four primary areas:

  1. Reimagine the City as a compelling destination
  2. Invest in new and existing leisure assets
  3. Brand the City of San Diego
  4. Grow meetings and convention business
About Experience San Diego Destination 2040

More than 40 industry leaders with diverse expertise in tourism, conferences, transportation, marketing, education, government, economics and planning spent the better part of six months analyzing and developing the foundation that fueled the master plan. This 20-year plan is a road map that lays out ambitious, but attainable strategies to reimagine San Diego as a compelling destination to increase visitor spending, and improve the livelihoods of all San Diegans.

About the San Diego Tourism Marketing District

The San Diego Tourism Marketing District (SDTMD) is a nonprofit, mutual-benefit corporation dedicated to improving lodging room night consumption in the City of San Diego. The organization serves as a private, nonprofit funding vehicle to stimulate City of San Diego lodging room demand through tourism marketing and advertising programs.


San Diego as a Compelling Destination

New leisure assets, expand meeting and convention tourism


Visitor Spending

Longer stays mean more visitor spending to benefit the local economy


Quality of Life for All San Diegans

Partner with organizations throughout the San Diego community to enhance quality of life