SDTMD Awards a Record $52.5 Million in Annual Grants to Sustain Tourism’s Recovery

San Diego Tourism Marketing District (SDTMD) has allocated $52.5 million in funding for marketing programs and events over the next 12 months to continue attracting tourists and increasing local hotel occupancy.  

SDTMD’s funding allocation for the 2024 financial year, which begins July 1, is the largest in the organization’s 15-year history, surpassing the $48 million available in the 2020 financial year which was later cut short due to the pandemic. This year’s high-water mark results from a very strong tourism rebound in the City of San Diego over the past 12 months. 

“Our TMD board provides reliable and critical financial support for a great cross-section of effective marketing programs and exciting events that attract out of town visitors to San Diego while driving increased hotel occupancy,” said SDTMD Board Chair Richard Bartell. “The industry’s recovery last year exceeded expectations, but growth is beginning to level off and these funds will be vital to keep San Diego among the top destinations in its market.” 

The SDTMD is self-funded through a small assessment on room nights in City of San Diego hotels with 70 rooms or more. The proceeds are designated for tourism marketing to help increase overnight hotel stays. Overnight visitors generate transient occupancy tax, or TOT, which helps fund city services, and tourism supports thousands of direct jobs while attracting billions in visitor spending to the region.  

In its 2022 financial year, SDTMD awarded $26.6 million in marketing grants that delivered a return on investment of $31 in hotel room night revenue from every $1 of grant funding invested. The 2024 financial year grants include:  

  • San Diego Tourism Authority – The City’s destination marketing organization continues to be SDTMD’s primary recipient of funding and will receive more than $50 million for strategic marketing programs.  
  • Sports San Diego – Now in its second year of operation, Sports San Diego markets San Diego to athletic tournaments and competitions, which have become a big driver of travel to San Diego. It is receiving over $1.5 million to market the San Diego Holiday Bowl, the California State Games and the Rady Children’s Invitational Men’s College Basketball Tournament by the Beach to overnight visitors and to market San Diego to attract future major athletic events. 
  • Other Events – An additional $501,000 will support several established tourism generating events and programs that have received funding previously and have yielded a strong return. Returning events include U.S. Police & Fire Championships, San Diego Crew Classic, San Diego Open, USTA Billie Jean King Girl’s 16 & 18 National Championships and the USTA League National Championships and San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival.   

SDTMD targets events scheduled for traditionally slower travel periods for its funding. This helps to sustain steady year-round tourism. It also looks for programs that drive tourism across the city.  Additionally, SDTMD seeks to support events that give back to the local community.  

Examples of funded events featuring community programs include the San Diego Bay Food + Wine Festival’s partnership with Fast Forward Futures to support hospitality, culinary and enology arts scholarships and the San Diego Crew Classic Freedom Rows event that supports military veterans recovering from injuries, emotional trauma and PTSD. 

Collectively, the SDTMD’s grants are projected to drive approximately 5.7 million room nights to generate over $1.1 billion in room night revenue in addition to $115 million in TOT for the city. For more information, visit 

Event organizers around the City of San Diego are encouraged to prepare and submit grant requests in October 2023 when the SDTMD issues its next call for applications. Learn more at 


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 provides a private, nonprofit 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: