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Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed San Francisco tourism executive, Sacramento native and Sacramento State alumnus Joe D’Alessandro to Visit California’s board of directors Tuesday.
D’Alessandro has served as the president and CEO of San Francisco Travel for close to 13 years, overseeing the tourism organization as it generated $10 billion in 2018 alone, according to a news release issued by Visit California.
“My goal is to work with my colleagues from around the state – northern and southern California, rural areas and urban areas – to position California as one of the most dynamic and in demand destinations,” D’Alessandro said in an interview with The Sacramento Bee.
The board of directors for Visit California, a statewide nonprofit tasked with attracting California tourism, is comprised of both industry-elected and governor-appointed members, who each represent one of 12 regions. D’Alessandro will represent the Bay Area region.
As the head of San Francisco Travel, D’Alessandro helped establish a tourism improvement district that created an independent revenue stream for the organization through hotel assessment fees.
He also touted recent figures from the organization that showed the popularity of tourism in San Francisco amid the industry’s growth.
According to data provided by San Francisco Travel, more than half of residents said tourism is the most important industry in the city, while 98 percent agreed that tourism is important to the economy and 82 percent said there aren’t too many tourists in San Francisco.
“Joe’s leadership in one of California’s most iconic destinations is unsurpassed,” Visit California president and CEO Caroline Beteta said in a prepared statement. “Bringing his years of success in San Francisco to the state level is a huge gain for all of California’s tourism industry.”
Three-quarters of travelers in San Francisco visit on vacation or leisure, according to Visit California, and the tourism industry there supports more than 82,000 jobs.
D’Alessandro previously worked as president and CEO of the Portland Oregon Visitors Association and during his ten years with the organization, tourism revenue more than doubled, according to Visit California.
He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, in 1978 with a degree in European Civilizations and got his start in the tourism industry as a European travel agent in Sacramento.