One of San Diego’s greatest challenges is bridging the gap between its tourist identity and its advanced industrial business culture.

While San Diego has solidified its status as a global destination for beautiful weather, ocean, scenery, and family-friendly activities, its identity as a global generator of advanced technology and industry remains second.

A recent Brookings Institute report highlights the importance of advanced industries in the economic renewal of metropolitan areas. Categorizing 50 industries within the advanced industry cluster, the Brookings institute shows that while the jobs are declining in many sectors, these jobs, wages and their corresponding share of total output is growing. In San Diego these industries include including aerospace, biotechnology, Advanced Manufacturing and

As of 2013, the San Diego-Carlsbad metropolitan area employed 176,280 workers in advanced industries jobs (12.6% of all jobs), making it the 14th largest advanced industrial employment region in the nation. These advanced industry jobs represented average annual earnings of $108,230, 54.4% higher than the average annual earnings of workers across all industries.

By comparison, according to the San Diego EDC in October 2014, the Hospitality and Leisure industry – generally representative of tourism – accounted for 172,400 regional jobs. (San Diego EDC Economic Snapshot)

Both tourism and the advanced industries present important drivers of regional growth and will continue to be San Diego’s greatest resources as the economy strengthens. With each sector representing different regional interests, we expect to see a local struggle to define the policy balance satisfying both of these equally significant local economic sectors.