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Mayor's speech reaches into city tourism plans

Impact of DNC speech expected to attract tourists, dollars

SAN ANTONIO - Mayor Julian Castro’s keynote speech before the Democratic National Convention may have given him a political push, but city leaders say it may have given San Antonio another leg up.

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On Thursday, as the City Council considered the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau proposed budget for 2013, there was a great deal of discussion as to how to utilize the new curiosity about the Alamo City and translate it into dollars.

Cassandra Matej, who heads up the CVB, said, “I think there’s a big opportunity and I’m going to look at what we can do, especially from a social media standpoint, kind of piggybacking on his speech to promote the destination.”

Matej pointed to the activity on social media sites the night of Castro’s speech. Keyword searches uncovered a huge bump in mentions on line on Facebook and Twitter for the city.

Turning that into tourism and convention gold will require more involvement online, she said.

“This is the seventh largest city in the country. It’s a great place to bring your business (and) a great place to visit, so I think there’s an opportunity and hopefully it will open doors,” she said.

While most at City Hall would agree, Republican City Councilmember Elisa Chan did urge a bit of caution.

Noting that the mayor’s speech, while good, was meant to bolster Democratic votes, that kind of partisan image for the city could backfire.

Chan said, “Of course, we all have differences of opinion in terms of some of the remarks he made, especially on the partisan line. However, it will really generate curiosity in what is San Antonio and how capitalize that is important.”

For District 6 Councilman David Medina, it’s all about finally getting included in big city discussions San Antonio has often been overlooked.

“I think it’s definitely going to get us at the table of bigger negotiations, bigger opportunities, and recognition,” he said.

The city will start by answer all the curiosity with a bigger presence on line and in social media sites.

The Visitors and Convention Bureau budget however is roughly the same as last year’s, at $19.6 million.

For a list of recent stories Ursula Pari has done, click here.


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