As homeless people turn off visitors, San Francisco tourism senses threat
The increasingly visible homeless problem, coupled with an epidemic of drug use and the resulting blighted streets, are threatening the city’s reputation as one of the most desirable business and leisure destinations in the country.
Those problems deeply concern the city’s tourism industry.
“There’s no question that there is an issue,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of San Francisco’s tourism marketing organization, San Francisco Travel. “It’s a national issue that we’re facing, and … it continues to be a problem. We don’t want any sort of negative impression of San Francisco being out there, so we are working quite aggressively with the city and with the private sector to be creative in problem solving.”
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Current estimates peg the homeless population of San Francisco at about 7,500, a number that hasn’t changed much in the past decade despite ongoing efforts to combat the crisis. It is also a number that stands in stark contrast to the city’s tech-driven economic boom, which has resulted in housing shortages and sky-high costs.
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