Established in 2008, San Diego Tourism Marketing District (SDTMD) is a Tourism Improvement District serving all areas within the City of San Diego. A non-profit, mutual-benefit corporation, SDTMD focuses on increasing and improving lodging room night consumption in the City of San Diego to support tourism growth and development in the region. Lodging businesses with 70 rooms or more located in the City of San Diego are assessed a fee on each room night. SDTMD uses these dollars to fund programs, services and special events that will deliver room night sales to its assessed members. Working together through SDTMD, the member lodging businesses create strong, measurable results in attracting tourism activity, increasing overnight stays and increasing San Diego’s tourism market share.

Note: For the period January 1, 2013 through August 31, 2016, the TMD assessment was levied on all lodging properties. Effective September 1, 2016, the TMD assessment was officially amended to be applicable only to lodging businesses with 70 or more rooms. Modified returns are now available.

Lodging businesses in the City of San Diego with 70 rooms or more are assessed a two percent fee on each room night sale. Assessment collection is administered by the City of San Diego and funds are distributed to the SDTMD.
The SDTMD assessment is used to help develop and support San Diego’s economic growth through tourism. The majority of SDTMD’s assessment funds support the San Diego Tourism Authority with additional funding applied to events and programs that can demonstrate an increase in room night stays at assessed hotels and a measurable return on investment.
San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA) is the primary destination management organization for the San Diego region. As a sales and marketing organization, the main objective of SDTA is to promote and market San Diego as a preferred vacation and meeting destination for leisure and business travelers from around the world. Incorporated in 1954, SDTA is a private not-for-profit 501(C)(6) organization and is governed by a 15-member board of directors. The majority of funding received by SDTA is derived from SDTMD assessment funds.
The San Diego County Hotel-Motel Association is a federation of hotel and motel owners and operators representing approximately 22,000 rooms in lodging establishments throughout the county. Members range from small family-owned properties to major convention hotels. Members also include many representatives of the San Diego Tourism Marketing District (SDTMD) as well as other allied member businesses affiliated with the San Diego visitor industry. The mission of the San Diego County Hotel-Motel Association is to serve the needs of our members with resources and communication on education, technology, human relations and other industry issues; and to provide advocacy and representation on legislative and regulatory issues at all levels of government.
In the City of San Diego, Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) is a tax applied to all lodging properties located in the City that rent to transients. (A transient is any person who occupies or is entitled to occupancy in the lodging structure for less than one month). TOT accounts for the third largest source of revenue to the City of San Diego’s general fund. The general fund supports essential city services such as roads, public safety, libraries, parks, homeless assistance and more.
TOT is a tax on every room night consumed in the City of San Diego and paid for by the visitor. The SDTMD assessment is a fee paid by lodging businesses with 70 rooms or more in the City of San Diego on each room night.
Increased hotel room night stays result in increased TOT revenue back to the City. Through this model, the tourism marketing district creates a true economic engine for the City and the region as a whole.

With tourism playing such a key role in San Diego’s current and long-term economic prosperity, it is important in this highly competitive industry that the city constantly explore new and effective strategies to promote and market the region as a preferred vacation and meeting destination. When tourism marketing funds were frozen in 2013, hotel occupancy and hotel tax growth fell by half, depriving the city of important funding for essential services. San Diego also lost market share to competing destinations. And in FY2020 through FY2022, the effects of Covid-19 on travel resulted in devastating job losses and significant declines in TOT collections.

To put it succinctly, events and tourism attractions that “put heads in the beds” of San Diego lodging businesses are extremely important to generating TMD assessment dollars in the region. (TMD cannot fund fixed assets such as stadiums or infrastructure.) Moreover, guests who stay multiple nights in San Diego create a ripple effect with their dollars spent, impacting not only lodging businesses, but multiple other commercial entities, including restaurants, entertainment, transportation and shopping retailers.
For TMD assessment funding guidelines & application, visit our Contractors section.