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SPECIAL COVERAGE: Living With Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Years Later

San Diego Tourism Dollars Drop With Sour Economy

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Business generated from tourism has taken a hit in San Diego County because of the poor economy. But officials hope a new state visitors center in eastern San Diego County will encourage more travelers to spend money in the region.

Business generated from tourism has taken a hit in San Diego County because of the poor economy. But officials hope a new state visitors center in eastern San Diego County will encourage more travelers to spend money in the region.

The new California Welcome Center on Interstate 8 provides information about California and San Diego County attractions.

Most of the nearly 2 million people who drive from Arizona each year will be able to stop at the Alpine center.

Joe Terzi is president and CEO of the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Terzi said after a significant drop in tourism dollars, any additional means to promote the region helps.

"Our business in the San Diego area is down about anywhere from 12 to 14 percent," Terzi said. "And that's year over year, so in projected 2010 versus '09, and '09 wasn't a great year."

Terzi said he doesn't expect the tourism industry to rebound in San Diego until next year.

He said tourism is the region's third largest business sector, providing more than 160,000 jobs.

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