A Task Force appointed by Mayor Ivy Taylor in 2015 studied trends in destination marketing in the top 50 destinations in America.  Their recommendation, at the end of their eight months of study, was made to City Council in March of 2016 and was largely accepted. Misconceptions about how a public-private nonprofit would market the city of San Antonio have appeared since that time. To help provide clarity, these are the facts about the effects of travel in San Antonio and the proposed structure of the new organization.

Breakdown of our 32.5 million visitors

Source: DK Shiflett

What Does a Public-Private Nonprofit Model Involve?

  • The new organization would be chartered to market San Antonio as a destination for visitors from around the World.
  • It would be governed by a board comprised of business representatives within the city of San Antonio, City Council members, travel and hospitality leaders, culinary arts and cultural heritage leaders, and finally, a transportation industry representative.
  • The new organization would still receive revenue derived from the Hotel Occupancy Tax or HOT Tax paid by visitors.
  • Destinations managed by public-private nonprofits have the option and opportunity to raise additional private funds in other ways, such as advertising revenue, membership dues, partnership revenue, corporate sponsorships and event hosting. This allows the budget to grow and to be more competitive.
  • There are also public funding sources such as tourism improvement district assessments, special restaurant taxes, county tax sources and other national tax funds.  These mechanisms as allowed and approved can also expand San Antonio’s marketing budget, allowing it to be more competitive with spending levels of comparative destinations like Houston or Dallas.

The HOT Tax Explained

  • The “HOT Tax,” as it is commonly referred, is short for Hotel Occupancy Tax. It is a Texas state law which outlines specific distribution percentages.
  • The tax is collected when visitors stay in area hotels.
  • The state takes 6% of monies collected from San Antonio area hotel occupancy taxes.  Bexar County is allotted 1.75% and the City of San Antonio is allotted 9%.
  • The city of San Antonio can spent up to 15% of the HOT Tax it collects on arts and culture projects; it can spend up to 15% of the HOT tax it collects for historic preservation projects.

The Future of Destination Management

  • Destination management is becoming increasingly competitive.  The lengthy process by which contracts are negotiated and processed as part of a city government hampers our ability to pursue business competitively.
  • Of the top 50 destinations in the USA, San Antonio is the only one still operating as part of city government.
  • Our largest competitors for large scale business are other Texas cities, including Dallas and Houston, both of which are public-private nonprofits.

The Importance of Travelers to the City of San Antonio

  • San Antonio hosts 32.5 million visitors annually; it is one of our top 5 industries.
  • The travel and hospitality industry generates more than $13.4 billion into the local economy.
  • The travel industry contributes more than $183 million in taxes and fees to the city of San Antonio and more than $348 million to all local governments combined.
  • 122,500 jobs in our city are travel and tourism-related.
  • One out of every 8 employed San Antonians holds a tourism and hospitality job.