In Major Boost to Tourism, SF Mayor Breed Brings Pandas and More to Bay Area 

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They’re furry, they’re cute, they’re cuddly and now they’re coming to the Bay Area. Pandas! In a huge gesture by China, San Francisco and the Bay Area will be receiving two giant Pandas at the SF Zoo in 2025. This is a big boost to tourism, and our region needs it. The Bay Area Council was proud to help work on the project and help lead the trip with Mayor Breed and a 30-strong delegation. Those in DC, which has previously hosted pandas, have said that whatever you expect in terms of impact, multiply it by ten.   

In addition to securing the pandas, there were several meetings with airlines to become allies in pressuring both the US and Chinese side to increase flights, and to increase the granting of tourism visas, which have been anemic due to staffing challenges.  We also helped secure three companies that will expand to San Francisco, and we talked to many more about potentially filling vacant SF office and retail space. 

The myopic focus at the national level on conflict and competition has made it harder, but not impossible, to work on areas of shared interest and shared benefit, such as tourism. As an important side note, the conversation about pandas began at the APEC Summit which the Bay Area Council also helped bring to the Bay Area.  Our compliments to Mayor Breed and her team. The Bay Area has been trying to secure pandas for generations, and for those that witnessed the work, for the past year Mayor Breed and her team have been indefatigable, and strident, and ultimately successful. 

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