When the Historic Spanish Missions were declared World Heritage Sites back in 2015, the expectation was that the designation would be a major boost to international tourism to San Antonio. Now, a walk along the Riverwalk reveals a wide variety of European and Asian languages being spoken by visitors to our city, an indication that the prediction is beginning to be proven right, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"The UNESCO World Heritage designation has certain helped us," Visit San Antonio President Casandra Matej said. "We are seeing a lot of traffic to our web site, 'VisitSanAntonio.com,' from a lot of different and new international cities."
Figures released by Visit San Antonio show that of the 37 million visitors San Antonio attracted in 2018, 2.3 million of them were from countries other than the U.S. The largest number of visitors, obviously, were from Canada and Mexico, but the United Kingdom, Germany, and China are new markets for international visitors.
Matej says a study is underway into just how many international visitors are coming to the Missions, spurred by the World Heritage Site designation, and marketing efforts are underway across Asia.
"We would like to see more, and we will start doing more PR efforts in certain Asian countries and cities," she said.
Chinese travelers, as the population grows richer, are increasingly attracted to the United States, and they are also very interested in history and cultural tourism.
And Matej says international visitors are the best visitors.
"Because they stay longer and because they travel more in a state and in a region."