The Plan

Experience San Diego Destination 2040

The San Diego 20-Year Destination Master Plan is the product of more than 40 regional tourism and civic leaders, whose expertise encompass everything from hospitality and marketing to economic development and civic governance. These ambassadors devoted hundreds of hours over six months. This unparalleled collaboration included the guidance and insight of a global management consulting firm specializing in best practices and strategies designed to reap quantifiable returns. In 2015, the first destination master plan in the history of San Diego was completed.

In 2017, the San Diego 20-Year Destination Master Plan was trademarked as Experience San Diego Destination 2040. A steering committee was convened of 16 tourism, business, government, education and civic leaders to activate the tenets and best practices for successful destinations as outlined in the final research report. The four initiatives (or pillars of the plan)Branding, Meetings & Conventions, Leisure and Transportationwere defined as achievable goals, both short- and long-term. The Experience San Diego Steering Committee established a Declaration for Success is to grow Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) to $1.3 billion over the next five years (2018-2022) and $948 million per annum by 2040. This revenue stream fuels the City of San Diego’s general fund, which can be used for infrastructure, street repair, parks, public safety, homeless services and the environment.

In 2017, the first year of the plan’s activation, San Diego City Council approved releasing $3 million from San Diego Tourism Marketing District’s litigation reserve to support priorities set by the steering committee including the marketing of Balboa Park, reclaiming the Los Angeles leisure market and developing the Chinese market. Building on year-one momentum, San Diego City Council approved an additional release of $5 million from the reserve in 2018 for five additional projects that focused on seasonal events, winter holidays, the family market, active lifestyle visitors and the Mexican market.

With a solid vision established and activation achieved, in July 2018, the long-term planning and responsibility for the destination master plan transitioned from the steering committee to the San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA), the City’s destination marketing organization. SDTA will guide the development of 3-, 5- and 10-year strategic plans based on Experience San Diego’s four pillars. The TMD Board will continue to steward the funds to support its ongoing implementation and champion Experience San Diego’s goals: to reimagine San Diego as a compelling destination, increase visitor spending and enhance the quality of life for all San Diegans.



San Diego 20-Year
Destination Master Plan

San Diego 20-Year Master Plan

Prepared for the San Diego Tourism Marketing District.
View the 20-Year Destination Master Plan

Experience San Diego Steering Committee

Patti Roscoe

Steering Committee Chair

Brian Hughes

San Diego Tourism Marketing District

Phil Blair

Manpower West

Jaymie Bradford

San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce

Nikia Clarke

San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation

Joyce Gattas

San Diego State University

Scott Hermes

Westin Hotels & San Diego Tourism Marketing District

Bella Heule

Port of San Diego

Elvin Lai

Ocean Park Inn & San Diego Tourism Marketing District

Kim Becker

San Diego International Airport

Jessica Lawrence

City of San Diego

Namara Mercer

San Diego Hotel-Motel Association

Omar Passons

Law Offices of Omar T. Passons

Clifford Rippetoe

San Diego Convention Center

Joe Terzi

San Diego Tourism Authority

Rita Vandergaw

Port of San Diego

Mari Katherine Urtasun

Downtown San Diego Partnership

Abnormal Beer Co, Experience San Diego
The City of San Diego, Experience San Diego
Manpower, Experience San Diego
Ocean Park Inn, Experience San Diego
Port of San Diego, Experience San Diego
San Diego Convention Center, Experience San Diego
San Diego International Airport, Experience San Diego
San Diego Hotel - Motel Association, Experience San Diego
San Diego Regional Chamber, Experience San Diego
SDREDC, Experience San Diego
SDSU, Experience San Diego
San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau, Experience San Diego
SDTMD, Experience San Diego
Westin, Experience San Diego
Downtown San Diego Partnership, Experience San Diego


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