Technology giant Oracle announced that starting next year it will move its renowned annual conference from San Francisco to Las Vegas. Previous visitors to OpenWorld had complained about “poor street conditions” and high hotel rates in the Californian city.
The decision by the major Silicon Valley company raises “concerns” about whether the Democrat-governed city is able to host major business events that have long been a pillar of its tourism, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report.
High hotel costs, homelessness, open drug use, and incidents of street violence that alarm visitors are among the challenges the city faces.
OpenWorld is a technology conference that has been held in San Francisco for the past two decades, attracting some 60,000 visitors each year.
“For the industry, for the city, to have a major conference leave us impacts all of us,” Kevin Carroll, chief executive of the Hotel Council of San Francisco, which represents hotel owners, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
“It’s a huge deal,” agreed Rick Swig, a hotel consultant at RSBA & Associates.
However, Oracle decided to move OpenWorld to the Caesars Forum in Las Vegas, a convention center scheduled to open in 2020. The contract is for at least 3 years.
The San Francisco Travel Association estimates the move will cost San Francisco $64 million a year, according to an email to its members that CNBC had access to.
San Francisco recently invested $551 million in the renovation and expansion of the Moscone Center, the largest convention center in the city that for years hosted OpenWorld, The Chronicle reported.
However, many of the attendees had complained about the city’s hotel rates and “poor street conditions,” said SFTA (SAn Francisco Travel Association), a private nonprofit organization that promotes tourism in San Francisco.
Oracle noted, it “is excited to offer a modern, state-of-the-art experience for attendees at Oracle OpenWorld and Code One 2020 in Las Vegas.”
“The city and its vast amenities are tailor-made for hosting large-scale events, and we look forward to bringing the industry’s most comprehensive technology,” Oracle added in a statement quoted by several media outlets.
In the text, the company stated that, despite the decision, it “continues to enjoy a strong relationship” with San Francisco.
San Francisco’s problems
One of the visitors’ complaints is about hotel prices.
Indeed, San Francisco is considered the fourth most expensive market in the United States for hotel rooms, behind Nashville, Boston and San Jose, California, according to an October survey by Cheaphotels.org.
While San Francisco averaged a rate of $214 a night for a double room of at least three-star quality, the same type of room averaged about $69 a night in Las Vegas.
But it’s not just about hotel price.
San Francisco, like other major California cities, has been criticized by President Donald Trump and other Republican leaders as bad examples to follow for the implementation of progressive policies.
Indeed, overregulation of rents has led to an unparalleled housing crisis that has resulted in thousands and thousands of people moving into the streets.
The situation is such that San Francisco’s neighbors are placing rocks – as barriers – to prevent homeless people from sleeping on the sidewalks next to their homes.
A similar scenario is presented in Oakland, where residents have been placing large logs around the city in an attempt to discourage passersby from setting up a camp near local businesses.
And sanitation is certainly in jeopardy.
The Tenderloin district is one of the areas most frequented by drug addicts and the homeless, where waste, human feces and needles abound in the streets.
Last week, a group of neighbors launched a privately funded program to increase power washing of human and animal feces on sidewalks.
“The excessive regulation of the housing market leads to increased costs and increases homelessness rates,” said Ben Carson, the federal government’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
“To reduce this crisis, California must reduce its regulatory burdens on housing,” he said in a statement in September this year.
He added that the state governed by Democrat Gavin Christopher Newsom—who was also at one point mayor of San Francisco—must also abandon the application of so-called sanctuary policies.
While local Democrats say they protect immigrants, the Trump administration points out that they actually turn cities into shelters for criminals and drug and human traffickers.
“Illegal and inadmissible aliens are increasing the demand for housing and exhausting resources,” Carson said.
“Reducing and treating drug use is also imperative to resolve this crisis,” he added.