San Antonio Travel & Tourism Community to Participate in First-Ever Global Meetings Industry Day

The San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau (SACVB), as well as tourism partners throughout the city, are gearing up to participate in the first-ever Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID). On April 14, 2016, they will join forces with the advocacy coalition Meetings Mean Business (MMB) to showcase the real impact that business meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive travel, trade shows and exhibitions have on people, business and communities.

“San Antonio is often recognized as one of the nation’s leading meeting and convention destinations and that has a tremendous impact on our local residents’ quality of life and the development of our city’s landscape,” said Casandra Matej, Executive Director of the SACVB. “Organizations who choose to meet here bring attendees who not only utilize our convention center and meeting venues, but also our local restaurants, attractions and transportation companies.”

 This helps to employ one in eight San Antonians, grow local businesses and create exposure for the destination that inspires return visitation. Revenue from these meetings also enables San Antonio to undertake capital improvement projects like the $325 million transformation of the Henry B. González Convention Center, the extension of the River Walk and the redevelopment of Hemisfair Park, among others.

“It’s a fantastic cycle that continually reinvests in our destination,” added Matej, “which makes San Antonio even more appealing to future meetings and locals alike.”

The San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau booked 590 meetings in 2015 resulting in 931,519 hotel room nights and an economic impact of $443 million. One key meeting during this timeframe was American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), who met here in October 2015 for their Annual Meeting, bringing 11,000 attendees. The effect on San Antonio’s local businesses from this meeting was evident through an $8.3 million economic impact. Of that $8.3 million, an estimated $4.7 million went towards lodging, $1.2 million towards food and beverage, more than $ 600,000 towards transportation, $369,000 towards retail and recreation, among other expenditures.

Laura Thevenot, CEO of the ASTRO, said, “ASTRO’s Annual Meeting, the world’s leading scientific meeting in radiation oncology, brings together more than 11,000 people from all over the globe who represent hospital clinicians and private practitioners, as well as representatives from industry and government circles. This past year was the first time ASTRO held its annual meeting in San Antonio since 1999, and our attendees raved about the city, noting in particular its walkability, the hospitality of its people, the abundance of places to eat and sightsee and the great facilities at the Henry B. González Convention Center. We can’t wait to come back.”

As part of GMID, the SACVB is joining forces with industry leaders from across Texas on April 14, 2016, to partake in a rally at the Capitol in Austin followed by a panel discussion with industry leaders: Paul Van Deventer, President & CEO of MPI; Sherrif Karamat, CAE, Chief Operating Officer of PCMA;

Cathy Breden, CAE, CMP, Exec. Vice President & COO of IAEE; Ken Sanders, President of Freeman AV; and Mike Dominguez, co-chair Meetings Mean Business & Sr. Vice President of Sales of MGM Resorts.


“With the help of organizations such as the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau, we will demonstrate the critical role our industry plays in building personal relationships, driving positive outcomes and supporting strong communities,” said Michael Dominguez, MMB co-chair and senior vice president of corporate sales at MGM Resorts International.


To learn more about GMID, visit Follow and participate in the digital conversations at @MeetingsMeanBiz on Twitter and by using the hashtags #MMBusiness with #GMID16.




David Peckinpaugh

Former MMB Co-Chair and President of Maritz Travel

“GMID will unite the meetings industry in a way that has never been done before,” said David Peckinpaugh, former MMB co-chair and president of Maritz Travel. “The growth and success of our industry are critical to the world’s economy and we look forward to communicating our value on the global stage.”

Patricia Muzquiz Cantor

Assistant Director, San Antonio Convention Sports Facilities

“Meetings at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center not only directly support thousands of local jobs that are needed to service the events in our building, but also allow us to showcase our beautiful building and city to over 700,000 visitors on an annual basis.  Our high occupancy and repeat customers are a confirmation that the San Antonio Henry B. González Convention Center is among the best places to bring meetings and conduct business.”

Jessica Zapatero

VP Marketing and Communications, The RK Group

“The meetings and event industry has tremendous impact for The RK Group. As a San Antonio-based company, we do our best to embody the culture of our city through culinary excellence and commitment to excellent service. Our success and growth can be attributed to the increasing demand for corporate events and meetings not only at the newly transformed Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center but also throughout the region.”

Paul Nix, CMP, CTA, DMCP

President, Capers

“Meetings and conventions held in San Antonio provide financial and intellectual value to our city, our region and our state,” said Paul Nix, owner and president of Capers, a local Destination Management Company (DMC).  “Bringing people together for meetings is an old tradition that creates powerful outcomes in our technology-rich society.  Whether individuals are building personal relationships within their own companies or among industry colleagues, significant value is gained with face-to-face meetings. Our company thrives on providing an environment or experience for groups that fuels innovation and productivity for the participating companies. Global Meetings Day provides a platform to raise awareness to the importance of the meetings and convention industry.”

Robert Thraikill

General Manager, Hilton Palacio Del Rio

“In my 30-plus years, I have seen technological advances focused on eliminating the need for meetings. Yet after the initial introduction, each one of these new platforms quietly goes away because people want/need the interaction. There is no more meaningful way for people to collaborate than to be face to face in an environment that fosters productive and meaningful work. I am convinced that this paradigm will continue to be true for generations to come. Face-to-face meetings are part of our DNA. It is how ideas are the best shared and results are obtained.”

Perny Shea

Partner/Director of Special Events, Biga on the Banks

“The private dining rooms at Biga on the Banks are essential to the continued success of our 17-year-old restaurant and the well-remunerated employment of our long-serving staff. Our corporate meeting groups experience the warmth and hospitality of San Antonio workers and the creativity of an independent, chef-driven restaurant exemplifying the flavors and presentations of the city to our guests, as we say ‘fine dining with a Texas accent.’"


One San Antonio

Diverse, internationally connected and globally competitive, San Antonio has a vibrant culture and economy and is consistently ranked among the fastest-growing cities in the United States. America’s seventh-largest city offers opportunities in industries ranging from bioscience, financial services, aerospace, cybersecurity, energy and transportation manufacturing to healthcare. We are “Military City USA,” home to crucial military commands supported by a patriotic citizenry. We welcome 32.5 million visitors annually who inject $13.4 billion annually into our economy, and UNESCO recently designated the city’s Spanish colonial missions as a World Heritage Site. Celebrating its 300th anniversary in 2018, San Antonio is a city with a storied past and an even brighter future. For more information, visit

About Meetings Mean Business

The Meetings Mean Business coalition was created in 2009 to showcase the incredible value that business meetings, travel and events bring to the U.S. economy. Its members span all facets of the face-to-face meeting and events industry, which have come together behind a common goal: providing the resources, tools and information to show the real impact the industry has on businesses, economies and communities. For more information, visit and download our app on iTunes and Google Play.