Bob Filner is widely viewed as a flawed political figure. But his brief time as mayor did produce one significant benefit for San Diego.
Filner’s confrontational approach unintentionally set the table for a critical performance test, exposing the hotelier-controlled Tourism Authority for what it actually is, or rather, is not.
The group has long taken credit for San Diego’s tourism successes, and most San Diegans have accepted those claims at face value. The evidence paints a starkly different picture. Our next mayor will have a golden opportunity to address this problem, and in doing so, significantly advance our city’s presence on the global stage.
While keeping San Diego’s long-standing reputation as a desirable tourist destination in mind, let’s also remember that the Tourism Marketing District (TMD) only came into being in 2008. Statistical comparisons may look good, but only because 2008 was an artificially low starting point: a collapsed global economy, the Great Recession in full swing and tourism crippled.