Conventions return to SF’s Moscone Center for 1st time in 18 months

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – The sidewalks in front of San Francisco’s Moscone Center are crowded again, and not with those seeking a COVID-19 vaccine.

These are some of the 3,000 people attending the California Dental Associations Annual Conference. 

“It’s nice to be here and finally be able to safely do something rather than be at home,” Karina Carrillo, a registered dental assistant, said. 

“They do a real good job, and everyone has to be vaccinated. They make you show vaccination so it’s safe,” Shanda Gonzalez, a registered dental assistant, said. 

The number of those attending is far below the typical amount, but it’s still helpful for the hotels which can’t survive on tourists alone.  

“With conferences, they bring people to the city, but they bring employees back to work, when the hotels are busier, we bring more people back to work and more restaurants get extra business and that means more people back to work,” Kevin Carroll, Hotel Council of San Francisco President and CEO, said. 

One Market is one of those restaurants that’s seeing an uptick in business, not just from the dental convention, but smaller meetings that have been going on at nearby hotels. 

“We still have a long way to go but we are taking steps in the right direction as these meetings begin to return,” Lorenzo Bouchard, One Market partner and general manager, said. 

It’s estimated the meetings and conventions generate $3-billion to $4-billion a year in San Francisco. 

Recovery to that level is not expected until 2025 but industry leaders agree this is a good start. 

“It’s telling the world that San Francisco is open, and this is a safe city to have your meeting,” Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of San Francisco Travel Association, said. 

This is the first of three conventions scheduled here for September, that’s the good news.  

The bad news is several conventions scheduled for October and November have been canceled, they are hoping things pick back up at the beginning of 2022. 

Read More