New study reveals the industry impacted the local economy approximately 10% above the pre-pandemic peak in 2019
SAN ANTONIO, TX (August 7, 2023) — In a remarkable rebound, the San Antonio tourism and hospitality industry shattered key performance metrics, surpassing pre-pandemic levels with an unprecedented economic impact of $19 billion – a 10% year-over-year increase. The findings, identified by Trinity University professors Richard V. Butler, Ph.D., and Mary E. Stefl, Ph.D., in a study commissioned by Visit San Antonio, the San Antonio Hotel & Lodging Association, the Texas Restaurant Association—San Antonio Chapter and the San Antonio Visitors Alliance, underscore the sector's undeniable resilience, vitality and importance to the San Antonio region.
Part of the industry's historic economic impact includes a notable boost in contributions to the city's local taxes and fees, soaring to an impressive $262 million. San Antonio has become a beacon of hope, recovering faster than many cities across the United States, as a separate visitation study by renowned national research company, D.K. Shifflet, found that San Antonio attracted 34.8 million visitors and employed over 140,000 individuals – nearly a 10% increase from 2021 figures.
"There is so much more work to be done, and Visit San Antonio remains steadfast in its commitment to rejuvenating our city's tourism and hospitality sector, aiming to restore hotel occupancy, city visitation and tourism-supported jobs to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024 or even sooner," said Marc Anderson, President and CEO of Visit San Antonio. "The latest record-breaking news of over $19 billion in economic impact and $262 million in city tax revenues for 2022 is immensely gratifying and promises a bright future for our city and its residents."
With more than 100 new restaurants and a dozen new hotels opening since the onset of the pandemic, the industry's total payroll has surged beyond 2019 levels, reinforcing its position as one of the top five economic drivers in the San Antonio region.
“This is not only a win for our city, but it is a win for the citizens of San Antonio. The positive impact our tourism and hospitality industry has had on our local economy since the start of the pandemic is tremendous,” said Ron Nirenberg, Mayor of the City of San Antonio. “It showcases the remarkable efforts to tell San Antonio’s story to the world.”
This robust growth exemplifies the unwavering power of tourism and hospitality in shaping the city's profile and status as the fastest-growing big city in the United States. Visit San Antonio Board Chair, Phil Stamm, emphasized the vital role of tourism and hospitality as key economic drivers and job creators.
"While we celebrate surpassing pre-pandemic benchmarks in crucial categories, we must unite to further increase business demand in both leisure and meetings and conventions,” Stamm said. “Our industry's impact extends far beyond San Antonio, generating revenue that propels our city to compete economically with other metro districts."
Professors Butler and Stefl's study lauded the industry's "impressive" performance in 2022. In response, Visit San Antonio continues to spearhead innovative marketing initiatives, enticing leisure and business travelers from around the globe. The city's iconic attractions and culinary offerings are being showcased, reaffirming San Antonio's status as a global destination with immense economic potential.