Travel & Tourism Impact Study Reports Tremendous Growth for San Antonio

Shanna Smith |
The economic impact of San Antonio’s hospitality industry, one of the city’s largest and most influential sectors, has increased 66 percent from 2003 to 2013, representing $13.4 billion annually. This is according to a new study of 2013 figures conducted by Trinity professors Richard V. Butler, Ph. D. and Mary E. Stefl, Ph. D.

Of the $13.4 billion that tourism brings to San Antonio’s economy, $348 million is contributed to local government. These funds are reinvested into the City’s tourism infrastructure by supporting projects like San Antonio river improvements, amateur sports facilities and cultural arts, among other visitor-frequented outlets. This not only provides additional attractions for visitors, but also increases quality of life for local San Antonians.

 “This industry research provides invaluable data, as we consistently evaluate the health of our industry,” noted Bill Brendel, Chairman of the San Antonio Area Tourism Council.  “Results show steady growth, reinforcing the continued value of tourism-focused economic development in San Antonio, the creation of thousands of quality hospitality jobs for our citizens, and the substantial contribution of tax revenues to local government.”  

In the past two years, the hospitality industry has seen an increase of more than 10,000 jobs, bringing the total to 122,500 locals employed by tourism. This is one in eight San Antonians, producing an annual payroll of $2.49 billion. Data also shows that San Antonio opens its doors to 31 million visitors each year, 24.9 million for leisure and 6.2 million for business. As visitors bring new dollars to San Antonio, each dollar of visitor spending generates approximately one additional dollar of income for San Antonio. 

“Visitor spending impacts virtually every corner of the local economy – sports, food service, transportation, cultural events, healthcare and much more,” said john Clamp, Executive Director of the San Antonio Hotel & Lodging Association. “Many of the amenities and attractions San Antonians enjoy on a daily basis are available to them only because these attractions are also supported by millions of visitors.”

Casandra Matej, Executive Director of the SACVB, explained how this information translates into strategy to engage more potential San Antonio visitors, “Knowing how many visitors we receive per year and how they financially impact our economy, helps us to educate our industry partners and civic leaders on the importance of tourism to San Antonio’s overall economic success. When government leaders and citizens support the tourism industry, this helps us gain support for projects like the transformation of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, which will maintain and grow the success of the industry and its impact on San Antonio.”
The Hospitality Economic Impact Report originated 12 years ago and is conducted every two years. It is commissioned by the San Antonio Area Tourism Council, San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau, San Antonio Hotel & Lodging Association and area chambers, among others.
To review study highlights and learn more about tourism’s positive impact on San Antonio, please go to