Over the course of the last few weeks, the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry has been substantial. The repercussions have led to challenging decisions and temporary closures to some of our great establishments. We extend our thoughts to those affected by this sudden and unexpected shift to our way of life.

While our primary concern is the health and safety of our community and visitors, SDTMD and San Diego’s tourism leaders are working with a sense of urgency to plan for and accelerate the industry’s recovery as immediately as possible when the time comes.

This situation is extremely difficult on our tourism industry and SDTMD will use every financial tool at its disposal to help our local tourism industry recover as quickly as possible when it is safe for people to start traveling and gathering again.

We will work together to emerge from this crisis and do our part to keep our employees and visitors safe and healthy in the meantime. To that end, we want to take this opportunity to provide you with useful industry resources and an update on the actions SDTMD is currently taking.


We continue to maintain regular communication with all of our key stakeholders and SDTMD-funded partners including the San Diego Tourism Authority, the primary recipient of our funding. Our shared goal is to ensure that TMD dollars are deployed at a time that will produce the greatest opportunity for restoring room night revenue at our hotels, which is critical for helping generate the third largest source of tax collections for the City of San Diego, TOT. At this time, the SDTA and other funded contractors are time shifting their promotional efforts to help in the recovery phase of this crisis. Learn more here.


SDTMD held a special board meeting on Friday, March 20 to revise our budget forecast for FY20 as well as the budget and funding allocations for FY21. Given some events are either no longer occurring or are being shifted to later in the year, the board opted to withhold event funding and reconsider funding requests in due course. At this time, the board is preserving the large majority of SDTA funding so that the destination marketing organization remains in a strong position to invest in targeted and impactful marketing campaigns when the timing is appropriate.


Visit California has compiled a helpful toolkit for industry partners and is regularly monitoring and revising projections for inbound visitation and spending as more data becomes available.


Funds like the San Diego Foundation’s San Diego COVID-19 Response Fund have been set up to help those in need in our community and information on the City of San Diego’s business relief and support can be found here.

Thank you for your part in ensuring the continued health and safety of our tourism community at this time. Together, we will get through this.



Annual applications for FY21 funding will be available beginning Oct. 11

SAN DIEGO – September 23, 2019 – Organizers of hotel room night generating athletic, cultural and other high-profile events in the City of San Diego can apply for grant funding from San Diego Tourism Marketing District (SDTMD) for Fiscal Year 2021 beginning Oct. 11. Interested applicants must complete an online application by 5 p.m. on Nov. 15 and are encouraged to attend an SDTMD sponsored workshop to learn more about the process.

“One of the primary ways that SDTMD helps San Diego sustain a robust tourism economy is through the direct funding of events and programs that generate room night stays at TMD assessed hotels,” says Executive Director Colleen Anderson. “The Board is always looking for new, qualified applicants and encourages anyone interested to attend a workshop to find out more.”

SDTMD will host two applicant workshops on Oct. 17 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and Oct. 22 from 2-4 p.m. Workshops provide an overview of the application process and insight on criteria used to select events for funding. Both workshops will be held in the Coronado conference room at the SDTMD office at 750 B Street, Suite 1500, San Diego. Registration is not required but is encouraged by emailing Executive Director Colleen Anderson at More details can be found on the SDTMD website. 

SDTMD awards grant funding each year to applicants who can best demonstrate the ability to generate incremental room night stays at SDTMD assessed hotels as well as a measurable return on investment (ROI) on SDTMD dollars. In FY18, SDTMD-supported programs averaged $20 in hotel room revenue for every SDTMD dollar invested. This directly contributed to more than $82 million, or approximately one-third, of the record breaking $232 million in Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) collected during the same period. The City of San Diego uses TOT, which is a tax hotel visitors pay per stay, to support essential city services such as road repair, public safety and homeless assistance programs. 

Some of the programs currently funded by SDTMD include California State Games, Holiday Bowl, San Diego Bayfair, Wonderfront, San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival and Best Coast Beer Fest. A complete list can be found on the SDTMD website at 

For more information about the application process, visit

About 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. SDTMD’s assessment of all City hotels with 70 rooms or more provides a funding vehicle to stimulate City of San Diego lodging room demand through tourism promotion, marketing and advertising programs. The judicious allocation of these resources creates a positive economic, fiscal and employment impact on lodging businesses in the City of San Diego. For more information, please visit:  


Shae Geary
(W)right On Communications

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