Return of tourists to San Antonio this summer gave businesses a much-needed boost

Hotel occupancy numbers for 2021 climbed from 60.8% occupancy in May to 73.9% in July

SAN ANTONIO – Beverly Johnson was visiting from the Bay Area in California for a conference and said she felt really good about how the San Antonio hotel she’s staying in is handling the COVID-19 protocols.

“The city itself feels real positive in terms of being a good advocate for promoting individual safety,” Johnson said.

Others coming from out of the state or country said it felt good to get out.

“Coming from New Mexico is extremely strict right now. So, we’re ready to get out of that,” said Aleah Stablein visiting from Albuquerque, NM.

Scott Russell from Canada said he too was excited to experience San Antonio. “The border travel has opened up a little bit. There still are some precautions that we need to take to travel, but for the most part, it is trending to be better,” he said about leaving his country.

Those in the tourism industry are enjoying the return of travelers as well.

Davis Phillips operates several attractions through Phillips Entertainment. He says he’s pleased with how the summer has gone so far, expecting numbers to be down, but surprised to be up instead.

“The leisure side of the industry has responded really pretty strongly. And now we’re anticipating conventions and meetings and business travel begin to come back as well this fall,” he said.

According to Visit San Antonio and numbers from Smith Travel Research, hotel occupancy numbers from July were pretty good when compared to July 2019.

Hotel occupancy numbers for 2021 climbed from 60.8% occupancy in May to 69.3% in June to 73.9% in July. The total from July is only 3.5% behind the same month in 2019 (76.6%).

That July occupancy rate puts San Antonio ahead of its other tourism grabbing cities, including Houston (59.1), Dallas (63.3), Austin (69.6), Charlotte (63.0), Phoenix (61.0), Atlanta (70.5), Nashville (73.5) and New Orleans (58.9).

Visit SA says there are 23 conventions still in the books for this year, not including two that have canceled. That’s a roughly $100 million economic impact for San Antonio.

The goal is to ensure that the city keeps its COVID-19 numbers low to ensure the conference groups don’t cancel.

Labor Day weekend slows down business for those in the tourism industry, and it picks up back again near the holidays.

About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.