Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau, is a man on a mission: Cleaning San Francisco up for both its residents and the millions of tourists who visit this fair city every year.
A familiar fixture on both the local business and social scenes, SF travel czar D’Alessandro studied in Italy for many years before heading back to California to join the travel industry — and he sure is glad he did.
“My degree is in history, but many years ago I returned home to Sacramento after studying in Italy and needed a job,” he says. “I opened the want ads and saw an ad for a travel agency that specializes in the Italian market. I applied and have been in the travel industry ever since.”
D’Alessandro has had a higher profile lately as the city and its various civic interests grapple over how best to solve the homelessness issue and keep tourists traveling to one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Doing that successfully ranks among D’Alessandro’s major goals in 2018, he tells the Gazette.
“My top priorities right now are] working with the city and the private sector to help to improve the conditions on San Francisco’s streets. This will be a long process, but we’re at a crisis point and can no longer sit back and accept the deplorable conditions while making visiting San Francisco an aspirational goal for people around the world. [We are also] successfully opening the newly expanded Moscone Center. Look for a big celebration in January.”
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