Leading SA: CEO of Visit San Antonio reflects on pandemic-stricken economy

Marc Anderson discusses local economy boosts, San Antonio International Airport expansion

SAN ANTONIO – Tourism and hospitality are cornerstones of the San Antonio economy. So, are we starting to return to pre-pandemic levels?

The president and CEO of Visit San Antonio joined Leading SA on Sunday to discuss what the last two years have looked like in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and what comes next.

“In 2019, we saw from tourism and travel in San Antonio $17.4 billion in economic impact for our community. Close to $500 million of that was in tax revenue. That goes directly to our public schools in San Antonio, our streets and sanitation, our public safety, like the police department and the fire department. So our team was really laser-focused on making a difference and leading our city back to pre-pandemic numbers,” Marc Anderson said.

Just last week, the Texas High School Coaches Association was in town and that was a great indication of the current state of hospitality and tourism.

“Well the coaches, which is one of our greatest group that we have in San Antonio, they had a record-breaking attendance last summer at more than 15,000 attendees. This year they had more than 16,000,” Anderson said.

“...One of our goals and our strategic plan that we finished... was to reach pre-pandemic levels of occupancy at 66% by the end of 2024. We’re going to achieve that hopefully by the end of this year. So business is coming back.”

As for what’s next, Visit San Antonio is excited about the San Antonio International Airport’s expansion and the subsequent effects.

“It is much needed and it’s coming at a phenomenal time as we resurrect travel and tourism for San Antonio in a post-pandemic world. We just launched a new initiative with Greater SATX and the city of San Antonio and the airport,” said Anderson. “We’re going to keep with those strategic goals and those discussions to ensure that our airport has some nonstop international flights over in the next 12 to 18 months.”

About the Author:

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.