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According to Smith Travel Research figures, San Diego's hotel occupancy rate last year climbed only 1.5%, to 71.6%; that lagged the nation's top 25 markets with a combined rise of 2.1%.

San Diego also lagged San Francisco, which was up 3.3%; Orange County, up 2.6%; and Los Angeles, up 1.9%

San Francisco's average daily room rate is $187.79 versus San Diego's $135.84.

"The sequester continues to impact San Diego as government business was down in December," says Encinitas-based Jerry Morrison, a hotel expert. He believes San Diego will lag San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Orange County throughout this year.

The San Diego Tourism Authority laid off a lot of staff for lack of funding. The staff is now being rebuilt, but in the group market, "it will be two years before we will be back in the market wth an effective sales team."

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Visduh Feb. 4, 2014 @ 7:37 a.m.

Morrison's comment, if correct, means that the local hotel business was not as much a creature of tourism as it was of the military-industrial complex. In other words, the local economy is far more dependent upon federal spending than many have cared to admit. And that is not the sort of diversified economy that can be described as healthy or the sort of thing we would want to have.


Don Bauder Feb. 4, 2014 @ 8:39 a.m.

Visduh: Morrison does not mean to say that government tourist business is an all-important factor in San Diego. But it IS very important. After all, government spending, including military contracting, is 25% of the San Diego economy. It has been larger than that in the past, but you are right: it still represents a heavy portion of the local economy.

The bottom line is San Diegans should NOT send out Christmas cards with the words "Peace on Earth." Before I am besieged by angry readers, I must say that I am kidding. Best, Don Bauder


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