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Bay Area Tourism Takes Dive

It may take the San Francisco Bay area tourism industry up to a year and a half to recover from a dismal business downturn according to a new study from the accounting firm

Ernst & Young.

The dot-com crash and events of September 11th have put a dent in the number of tourists visiting San Francisco in particular, the firm says.

Of the 25 markets covered by Ernst and Young, the Bay Area now ranks near the bottom as a tourist destination.

San Francisco tourism officials are downplaying the report and say other cities have been impacted in addition to their city.

The accounting study blamed the city´s tourism recession on the high-tech sector crash last year and recent cutbacks by United Airlines, a major air carrier serving the city.

The report focuses on the hotel industry.

San Francisco´s 34,000-room lodging business was down before last fall and is having a hard time luring back travelers.