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The latest. The greatest. And people you should meet.

With more than 39 million visitors each year, San Antonio is a destination worth visiting. We have it all. Browse our blog entries to get to know us better and scroll through our accolades below to see what others are saying about our destination. 

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November 18, 2021 | Nancy Mueller

Whether coordinating an in-person, virtual or hybrid meeting, planners know that one survey item can make or break the success of an event: F&B. With that in mind, savvy conference organizers look toward favorite foodie destinations as an easy and enlivening way to attract more attendees to events.

Here, then, are a few food-forward destinations eager to help planners and attendees explore their most cherished local culinary traditions, innovations and notable dining experiences.

San Antonio, TX

From Tex-Mex to “Tex-Next,” the city of San Antonio blends the best of both traditional and innovative cuisines. Recognized as the second UNESCO “Creative City of Gastronomy,” San Antonio’s 4,000 restaurants include both iconic favorites and hidden gems, says Marc Anderson, president and CEO of Visit Antonio. For Todd Voorhees, vice-president, exposition & events for the Texas Restaurant Association (TRA), “San Antonio is an essential and vibrant part of our Texas culture and cuisine,” he says. “San Antonio balances the traditional expectations of Texas barbecue, Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, with many bold and creative dining concepts.” Voorhees continues, “As a food destination, San Antonio is a culinary destination for authentic and creative experiences across a spectrum of dining options.”

Yet, the food scene alone is not the only attraction that makes the difference for Voorhees’ group in choosing a meeting site location. Apart from the city’s unique culinary flavor profiles, TRA attendees are drawn to the warmth of the local residents, “San Antonio has an unparalleled culture of hospitality and tourism that comes across in every interaction,” Voorhees says. In addition, “The beauty and entertainment of the River Walk, the variety and convenience of the hotel community, and the hospitality that you feel in all your experiences, are a hallmark of this city.”

The association relies on dozens of restaurants and meeting venues to host their members, like the 4,000+ who attended TRA’s trade show at the Henry B. González Convention Center in mid summer this year. Briscoe Western Art Museum, TopGolf and Mi Terra Café also hosted member events, as well as a “very special” hosted TRA event at The Fairmount Hotel for VIP guests “that was one of the highlights of our visit,” Voorhees says. In addition, “[Grand Hyatt San Antonio River Walk] and the Hilton Palacio Del Rio were excellent partners in accommodating our smaller group meetings. The support and hospitality with these partners was exceptional.”

Voorhees concludes: “I know I’m like a broken record, but it’s the hospitality. Really and truly, San Antonio has a remarkable culture of appreciation for their guests. You will absolutely fall in love with the food, the natural beauty and the convenience of working here, but what you will always remember and take away with you is the people.”

Source

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October 20, 2021 | Danielle LeBreck

There’s a lot of new happenings in San Antonio’s hospitality industry. Fresh hotels are on the horizon, including new-build Artista San Antonio Hotel on the River Walk (2023), a luxury InterContinental Hotel on the River Walk receiving a $50 million refresh (2023), Estancia del Norte opening in the Uptown District this past April after a renovation and rebrand, plus much, much more.

Visit San Antonio made a big change this year too, welcoming its new president and CEO, Marc Anderson, this summer, who joins the organization following six years as COO at Choose Chicago. We spoke with Anderson about the state of meetings in the city, what excites him most about San Antonio’s potential and more.

What’s the outlook for meetings and events in San Antonio?

San Antonio has successfully returned to safe, in-person meetings since the fall of 2020. To date, we have been fortunate to successfully and safely host a number of sizable groups, including the NCAA 2021 Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, the Texas High School Coaches Association and the Women of Joy conference, among others.

Historically, after times of disaster or stress, the travel industry has been a major factor in helping the American economy rebound. That is significant in San Antonio, where the tourism sector is a leading industry in comparison to many destinations. This year is the beginning of a strong recovery for our industry, and we look optimistically toward 2022 to further drive a safe and fast rebound.

Staying connected with customers, conducting virtual site visits and continuing to tell the San Antonio story over the past 18 months has kept us well-positioned for recovery. With a number of major groups on the books and leads steadily increasing, we look forward to welcoming many more groups to our beautiful city.

As you have stepped into your new role, what excites you the most about San Antonio’s potential for meetings and events?

There are very few U.S. cities that offer the level of authenticity and storytelling that a city like San Antonio can offer. This is one of the reasons I moved my family to San Antonio. San Antonio is extremely pro-business and pro-tourism. Our community believes in the power of our industry and how we add great value to San Antonio and our residents. San Antonio is a vibrant community that is poised for not only an incredible recovery, but extensive growth in the coming years. As the seventh-largest city in the U.S., San Antonio is experiencing a renaissance unlike many cities in our country.

In addition, San Antonio’s walkability is unlike most U.S. cities. Our convention center is literally within walking distance to everything in our city. As groups look at budgets to recover from COVID-19, a large line item such as attendee transportation can be eliminated by choosing San Antonio for their convention.

Any recent examples of meetings and events moving forward safely in San Antonio recently?

In early 2021, San Antonio proved that the destination is ready for events with the success of hosting the NCAA 2021 Division I Women’s Basketball Championship from March 21 to April 4. Accommodating 64 participating teams within a bubble environment required meticulous planning and coordination on the part of not only the NCAA, Visit San Antonio and San Antonio Sports, but several local venues, hotels, restaurants, and other San Antonio partners, and thousands of volunteers.

From there, San Antonio’s hotels, venues, restaurants and attractions have remained committed to health and safety as our No. 1 priority. This summer, San Antonio hosted the Texas High School Coaches Association with over 14,000 attendees, breaking previous attendance numbers.

Our biggest takeaway is that meeting safely is very possible. We must all stay diligent in this recovery effort and not let our guard down when it comes to meeting safely.

Plus: The Latest Meeting Venue and Development News in San Antonio

Anderson emphasized that the amount of development happening in San Antonio that will contribute to its continued standing as a desirable meetings and events destination. Major highlights meeting planners should know about include the following.

Hotels

  • Artista San Antonio is coming to River Walk in summer 2023, adding 112 guest rooms to the area with an art-centric modern design with a nod to the Spanish colonial roots of San Antonio. The hotel, operating under Accor’s Morgans Originals lifestyle brand, will engage directly with the local artist community, providing several unique offerings for guests including access to limited edition prints, custom artwork and bespoke textile and leather goods. Over 2,500 square feet of event and meeting space will be available along with signature bar and restaurant experiences.
  • An InterContinental hotel is coming to River Walk in early 2023. Scarlett Hotel Group and Trailbreak Partners have purchased the former Wyndham San Antonio River Walk and have planned a $50 million overhaul that will transform the 21-story building into a luxury, full-service, four-star, 390-room InterContinental Hotel. As part of the multimillion-dollar upgrades, the new hotel will offer 40,000 square feet of meeting space and nearly 3,000 square feet of dining and restaurant space, as well as luxury rooftop amenities.
  • Dual-Concept AC Hotel & Element Hotel will debut at Riverview Towers in May 2022. Across from historic Main Plaza and San Fernado Cathedral, The Riverview Towers will soon be home to San Antonio’s first AC Hotel by Marriott and Element Hotel by Westin. The hotels’ 20-story building will include 4,000 square feet of function space and rooftop bar One Watson on the 13th floor overlooking the River Walk. AC Hotel will offer 181 rooms, while Element Hotel will offer 169 spacious guest rooms designed for longer stays including fully equipped in-room kitchens, fitness options and onsite laundry.

Additionally, Anderson said that the trendy neighborhood The Pearl is continuing to add dining concepts, which means more after-hours options for meeting attendees. “Two upcoming dining concepts will be centered around outdoor living. Allora is a stylish, full-service coastal Italian restaurant designed to take diners on a journey through the romantic Amalfi Coast. Arrosta is a fast-casual cafe, or tavola, bringing the flavors of Italian street markets to Pearl in San Antonio.” Both plan to open in late 2021.

“Another major development is the three-phase renovation of Hemisfair, which is dramatically enhancing the downtown area and is fantastic for meetings and events, especially given it is adjacent location to the Convention Center,” he added, speaking of the redevelopment of the historic district. “We are eagerly awaiting two new dining options in Hemisfair: The Bombay Bicycle Club’s second location will open in Hemisfair in late 2021, and Jerk Shack’s third location will open in Hemisfair in the summer of 2022.”

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GULF SHORES, Ala. (Oct. 5, 2021)—It is with honor that the publishers and editors of ConventionSouth, the national multimedia resource for planning events in the South, present Visit San Antonio with a 2021 Readers’ Choice Award.

ConventionSouth readers and fans have voted to decide the best meeting sites in the South, and it is no surprise to us that Visit San Antonio has been selected to receive our annual Readers’ Choice Award,” said ConventionSouth Associate Publisher Ashleigh Osborne. “The value in receiving this prestigious recognition is that it comes from the United States’ top meeting professionals who hold events in the South. These planners demand the highest level of customer service and quality facilities, and they have contributed in determining that Visit San Antonio indeed displays the commitment to professionalism, creativity and service that they require.”

Visit San Antonio is among 415 convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs), meeting facilities and hotels located across the South to receive this year’s Readers’ Choice Award. Throughout the year, meeting professionals nominated the meeting sites they believe provide exemplary service for group events. The nominated sites are then compiled onto an online ballot where meeting professionals and fans are asked to vote for the best of the best. With over 8,000 voters participating in the selection process and the highest social media interaction to date, this has been the most successful and engaging year yet!

Since creation in 2001, this is the third time that Visit San Antonio has received the award, making it an even greater honor to present it with a 2021 Readers’ Choice Award. Visit San Antonio will be featured as an award recipient in the December 2021 Awards Issue of ConventionSouth magazine. This exciting issue will also showcase some of the most talented meeting professionals in the nation as ConventionSouth also presents planners with its annual “Meeting Professionals To Watch” designation. “Featuring peer advice and trade secrets from our Meeting Professionals to Watch in 2022, our Awards Issue is one of the most popular must-read resources within the meetings industry,” Osborne said.

Celebrating almost 40 years as a leading meeting planning resource, ConventionSouth magazine is based in Gulf Shores, Ala., and is distributed to more than 18,000 meeting professionals located across the country who book meetings held within the South, according to Osborne.

A complete list of award winners can be found online at: https://conventionsouth.com/2021-readers-choice-award-winners-announced/

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San Antonio (July 26, 2021) – Rich in history, bursting with culture and booming with modern attractions, San Antonio is a truly unique destination working with meeting groups to speed the recovery of the meetings and conventions industry in the city. To that end, Visit San Antonio is launching the 2021 Sí San Antonio Meetings Incentive Promotion as the city remains open for business and committed to planners’ and visitors’ safety and satisfaction.

“As the country bounces back from the pandemic we want to ensure meetings groups know they are welcome and wanted in San Antonio,” said Mario Bass, Chief Sales Officer for Visit San Antonio. “The Si San Antonio Meetings Incentive Promotion is the latest way our team at Visit San Antonio is making it easier and more appealing for meetings and conventions to return to our city as we spur the economic recovery in the community.”

Qualified groups are able to take advantage of these incentives to help offset some of their costs for meeting in San Antonio:

  • Between 250-500 total contracted room nights
    • $3 per actualized room night
  • Between 501-750 total contracted room nights
    • $4 per actualized room night
  • 751 or greater contracted room nights
    • $5 per actualized room night
  • For any group contracting the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center for the dates outlined in this promotion will receive a 50% discount on Convention Center rental rates
  • All qualifying groups are eligible for Visit San Antonio’s Fly-In On Us Promotion as well, offering a customized visit to experience San Antonio’s offerings

To qualify for the incentives, meetings and events must total 250 or more room nights during a need-time through 2024 and be booked through a Visit San Antonio sales representative with contracts executed by Dec. 31, 2021. Need-time dates are listed on the promotion webpage and subject to change. The Si San Antonio meeting incentive promotion is available now through Dec. 31, 2021.

When meeting planners work with Visit San Antonio, they also receive:

  • Access to Destination Experience Managers who provide personalized attention and unparalleled service. They become an extension of the planning team to streamline the planning process while creating a truly unique and authentic San Antonio meeting.
  • Connect SA: Connection to local leaders who can provide education, local expertise, speakers, panel participation, and networking. The 7th largest city in America, San Antonio is home to 15 area colleges and universities, and robust Information Technology/Cybersecurity, Bioscience, Aerospace, New Energy, Financial Services and Advanced Manufacturing sectors.
  • Access to the Planning Assistant, containing tools and resources to market events.
  • Attendees receive deals and discounts throughout the city with Visit San Antonio’s Show Us Your Badge program.
  • See all the reasons to plan a meeting in San Antonio here.

For more information on the 2021 Si San Antonio Meetings Incentive Promotion – including program terms and conditions, Visit San Antonio Sales Representative contacts or to submit an RFP – visit Meetings.VisitSanAntonio.com.

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Visit San Antonio is a 501(c)6 that serves as the sales and marketing arm of San Antonio as a leading leisure and meetings destination. In 2019, San Antonio welcomed approximately 41 million visitors. Hospitality is one of the top five industries in the city, contributing $15.2 billion into the local economy annually and employing 140,000 in 2019. More information about Visit San Antonio and what San Antonio offers leisure and business travelers can be found at VisitSanAntonio.com.

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Our Destination Experience team launched a Basketball Bracket Challenge to excite and engage clients with a little friendly competition. This effort coincided with San Antonio hosting the historic NCAA 2021 Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament featuring a “bubble” format with all 64 teams. To spotlight all the wonderful efforts that went into play to host a successful event, three “Behind the Scenes” videos were produced to showcase the meticulous planning that took place leading up to the tournament. In the first segment, key team members with NCAA and our San Antonio partners were interviewed on the best practices developed for the health and safety of the NCAA teams, staff and visitors. We invite you to view it below.

For the second installment of the NCAA 2021 Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament Bracket Challenge “Behind the Scenes” video series, the Destination Experience team met with and interviewed key industry partners from NCAA, the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, the Alamodome and San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter Hotel to discuss all of the logistics involved in managing and moving 64-teams of athletes from across the country into a singular “bubble” format. We invite you to view it below.

In the final installment of the NCAA 2021 Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament Bracket Challenge “Behind the Scenes” video series, the Destination Experience team spotlight’s how NCAA and the San Antonio Local Organizing Committee enhanced and engaged the student athletes as well as the visitor experience virtually and how key industry partners were able to bring San Antonio into the “bubble” format. We invite you to view it below.

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On March 1, Visit San Antonio celebrated this year’s Texas Independence Day with an interactive beer tasting presented by Alamo Beer CompanyEncore and PRA. The virtual event featured behind the scenes tour of Alamo Beer Company’s stunning 18,000 square foot brewery, beer hall and beer garden with guided tasting of award winning craft beers with Brewmaster Gregg Spickler. In case you missed it, we invite you to view it below.

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On November 19, Visit San Antonio, along with PSAV and our special guests from Caliente Hot Glass, hosted a Lunch & Learn and a live demonstration of the art of glass blowing. In case you missed it, we invite you to view it below.

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San Antonio (September 1, 2020) – San Antonio International Airport (SAT) is the first airport in the world to purchase and employ the Xenex LightStrike robot – the only ultraviolet (UV) room disinfection technology proven to deactivate SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19.  

“The health and safety of our employees and passengers has always been our number-one priority,” said Jesus Saenz, Jr., Director of Airports for the City of San Antonio.  “The acquisition of the Xenex LightStrike robot is just the latest innovative enhancement to our daily operations and efforts to ensure that traveling through San Antonio International Airport is the easiest and safest experience passengers can encounter.” 

The LightStrike robot incorporates cutting-edge technology through bursts of intense UV light to destroy hard-to-kill viruses and bacteria found in common places and hard-to-clean spaces.  SAT is the first airport to deploy LightStrike robot technology from Xenex – a renowned world-leader in infection prevention and disinfection technology.  LightStrike technology is used in healthcare facilities to destroy microscopic pathogens often found on high-touch surfaces that can cause healthcare associated infections.  In testing performed at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute – one of the world’s leading independent research institutes working exclusively on infectious disease – the LightStrike robot destroyed SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in two minutes.  SAT is now bringing this same level of disinfection to the commercial airport industry.  

“COVID-19 nearly caused the aviation industry to stop in its tracks,” said Dr. Mark Stibich, Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder of Xenex.  “Planning for the disinfection of public spaces – especially commercial airports – is a major priority to reduce the risk of disease transmission.  Putting an effective infection prevention infrastructure in place is essential, and we are proud to partner with San Antonio International Airport in leading the aviation industry in this effort.”

Using environmentally-friendly pulsed xenon, the portable LightStrike can disinfect an area in less than 10-15 minutes without warm-up or cool-down time.  This will allow the quick and easy deployment of the LightStrike robot to disinfect high-traffic areas without a disruption to passengers.  Operated by the airport’s terminal services staff, it can be used anywhere in the airport – to include jet bridges, gate areas, ticketing counters, baggage claim, concessions, elevators and restrooms – where there are high-touch surfaces or high volumes of traffic.

In 2012, the city of San Antonio recruited Xenex’s headquarters and manufacturing operations from Austin to San Antonio.  Since that time, and with the city’s support, Xenex has continued to grow and has established itself as a world-leader in mobile, UV disinfection technology.  “I am excited to see the use of innovative technology at the airport to address the ever-evolving challenges in the fight against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg.  “Our aviation team’s forward-looking moves, such as using this UV disinfection technology and partnering with San Antonio-based Xenex, will position our city well for economic growth now and in the years to come.”  

“Our goal is to provide the safest environment for our passengers.  We already have a comprehensive sanitization and disinfection process in place,” said Saenz.  “We are excited to add the LightStrike to our current health enhancements to complement our sanitation stations, social distancing measures and other safety protocols.  We are proud to be a leader in the aviation industry when it comes to health and safety, and to be the first airport to employ the LightStrike.”

The airport plans to hold a city-wide naming contest to name the LightStrike Robot.  The naming contest will be a part of the airport’s social media efforts designed to restore consumer confidence in commercial air travel and reduce fears of contracting COVID-19 while at the airport.   

For more information on the airport’s health and safety protocols, visit www.Flysantonio.com.  

To schedule a demonstration, contact Rich Stinson at rich.stinson@sanantonio.gov

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San Antonio: America’s 21st Century City

San Antonio is a global city with a dynamic economy and workforce, a deep cultural heritage and diverse communities that are resilient and welcoming. It is one of the strongest fiscally managed cities in the country with a vibrant business climate and a ‘AAA’ general obligation bond rating from all three major rating agencies. San Antonio is a city that nurtures entrepreneurship, encourages investment and funds infrastructure. America’s seventh-largest city offers growth opportunities in bioscience, financial services, aerospace, cybersecurity, energy, transportation, manufacturing and healthcare. In 2015, UNESCO designated San Antonio’s 18th century Spanish colonial missions as a World Heritage Site – the first in Texas. Proudly called Military City, USA®, San Antonio is home to one of the largest populations of active duty military, veterans and crucial military commands. In 2018, the city celebrates its 300th anniversary, honoring its rich past and a bright future focused on innovation and livability. For more information, visit www.sanantonio.gov.

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On August 13, The Witte Museum and Visit San Antonio, along with PSAV, hosted a fun and educational lunch and learn titled “Dressing for the Job.” Demonstrations by the talented Vaquero Josh include the practical and protective uses for chaps, boots, hats, bandanas and more. It is fun for the whole family! In case you missed it, we invite you to view it below.