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Tourists streaming back to San Diego

San Diego political and tourist industry leaders encouraged visitors Saturday to continue coming to their city.

"We want the message to go out across the world: San Diego is open for business," Mayor Jerry Sanders said at a morning news conference at the San Diego Zoo.

As the mayor spoke, families, out-of-state visitors and couples streamed through the zoo's entrance.

Tourism is the third-largest industry in San Diego, after manufacturing and the military. Tourism spending annually is about $8.2 billion, and there are about 120,000 jobs in the industry.

The mayor said it appeared that the blazes were not keeping people away. Only one convention canceled during the fires.

A popular golf tournament will take place at Barona Creek Golf Club next week, and a major neuroscience convention is coming soon to San Diego's waterfront convention center.

The zoo remained opened during the fires. The Wild Animal Park, in the city's San Pasqual Valley, has reopened after part of the grounds burned.

"From sparkling beaches to a thriving downtown, San Diego does not disappoint," said David Peckinpaugh, chief executive of the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau. "If you haven't visited recently, now is the time to visit San Diego."

-- Tony Perry

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