What is the San Diego Tourism Marketing District?

The SDTMD, a non-profit, mutual-benefit corporation, focuses on increasing and improving lodging room night consumption in the City of San Diego to support tourism growth and development in the region.  The SDTMD does this by providing funding (from its TMD assessments) to stimulate lodging room demand in the city.  For example, through SDTMD efforts, approximately 16.4 million overnight hotel stays by visitors were realized in San Diego in 2013, and currently $15,938 in visitor spending takes place in San Diego every minute.

Note: For the period January 1, 2013 through August 31, 2016, the TMD assessment was levied on all lodging properties. Effective September 1, 2016, the TMD assessment was officially amended to be applicable only to lodging businesses with 70 or more rooms. Modified returns are now available.


What is the San Diego Tourism Authority?

With the mission of promoting and marketing the San Diego region as a preferred vacation and meeting destination, the San Diego Tourism Authority is a private, non-profit, mutual benefit corporation composed of approximately 1,000 member organizations, businesses, local governments, and individuals.  Members — representing such tourist-related entities as lodging, dining, arts and attractions, shopping, and transportation — seek to stimulate the growth of the region through the visitor industry. Tourism is the second largest segment of San Diego’s economy and employs approximately 180,900 people.

The majority of funding received by the San Diego Tourism Authority is derived from San Diego Tourism Marketing District (SDTMD) assessment funds. Lodging business in the District raise these funds through self-assessments for the purpose of promoting tourism in the San Diego region.


What is the San Diego Hotel-Motel Association?

The San Diego County Hotel-Motel Association is a federation of hotel and motel owners and operators representing approximately 22,000 rooms in lodging establishments throughout the county. Members range from small family-owned properties to major convention hotels. Members also include many representatives of the San Diego Tourism Marketing District (SDTMD) as well as other allied member businesses affiliated with the San Diego visitor industry.

The mission of the San Diego County Hotel-Motel Association is to serve the needs of our members with resources and communication on education, technology, human relations and other industry issues; and to provide advocacy and representation on legislative and regulatory issues at all levels of government.


What is CLIA?

The California Lodging Industry Association (CLIA), part of the national Lodging Industry Association, is committed to supporting California’s lodging owners and their management teams. A recognized leader in the industry, CLIA, based in Sacramento, CA, works in concert with other leading hospitality and business groups to support and protect California’s $95 billion tourism industry through responsible advocacy.


What is the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)?

In the City of San Diego, the TOT is a tax applying to all lodging properties located in the City that rent to transients. (A Transient is any person who occupies or is entitled to occupancy in the lodging structure for less than one month). In addition, lodging businesses may be subject to assessment by the city’s Tourism Marketing District (TMD). For the period January 1, 2013 through August 31, 2016, the TMD assessment was levied on all lodging businesses.  Note: Effective September 1, 2016, the TMD assessment was officially amended to be applicable only to lodging businesses with 70 or more rooms.


Examples of lodging businesses subject to the TOT include:

  • Hotels and Motels
  • Short-Term Vacation Rentals of any kind (i.e. houses, condos, rooms, or spaces) rented directly by the    owner/operator, by property management companies or via internet travel services
  • Recreational Vehicle (RV) Parks and Campgrounds

Such lodging owners must submit a completed application to the San Diego City Treasurer’s office, which is responsible for the administration and collection of the TOT,  in order to obtain a Transient Occupancy Registration Certificate.  Questions can be directed to the TOT/TMD Administration desk at (619) 615-1530 or sdtot@sandiego.gov.


What is the TMD assessment?

This assessment is part of the city’s Tourism Marketing District (TMD) — the overarching program that provides funds to promote the region’s hotels as overnight destinations to prospective visitors. The purpose of the TMD assessment, administered by the City of San Diego and levied on lodging businesses in the city, is to help support San Diego’s events and tourism industry. For the period January 1, 2013 through August 31, 2016, the TMD assessment was levied on all lodging properties.  Note: Effective September 1, 2016, the TMD assessment was officially amended to be applicable only to lodging businesses with 70 or more rooms. The business operator may elect to pass the TMD assessment on to the Transient.


Who pays the TMD Assessment?

Update: For the period January 1, 2013 through August 31, 2016, the TMD assessment was levied on all lodging properties. Effective September 1, 2016, the TMD assessment was officially amended to be applicable only to lodging businesses with 70 or more rooms. Modified returns are now available.


What is the assessment used for?

The TMD assessment is used to help develop and support San Diego’s economic growth through tourism.   Tourism currently ranks as the second largest segment of San Diego’s economy and employs approximately 180,900 people. TMD assessments have yielded significant results in recent years under the San Diego Tourism and Marketing District.  For example: Tourism’s economic impact on the San Diego region was $15 billion in 2013 — creating/impacting 165,000 tourism-related jobs; resulting in $8.4 billion in visitor spending, and a total of 16.4 million overnight hotel stays by visitors.


Why does San Diego need marketing?

With tourism playing such a key role in San Diego’s current and long-term economic prosperity, it is important in this highly competitive industry that the city constantly explore new and effective strategies to promote and market the region as a preferred vacation and meeting destination.


What qualifies for TMD assessment dollars?

To put it succinctly, events and tourism attractions that “put heads in the beds” of San Diego lodging businesses are extremely important to generating TMD assessment dollars in the region. (TMD cannot fund fixed assets such as stadiums or infrastructure.) Moreover, guests who stay multiple nights in San Diego create a ripple effect with their dollars spent, impacting not only lodging businesses, but multiple other commercial entities, including restaurants, entertainment, transportation and shopping retailers.


How can I apply for TMD assessment dollars?

For TMD assessment funding Guidelines & Application for Fiscal Year 2017 (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017), visit http://www.sdtmd.org/applications/.