- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - The economic impact of San Antonio’s hospitality industry has tripled in two decades and reached $13.4 billion last year, according to Trinity University researchers.

The San Antonio Express-News (http://bit.ly/ZDRlXD ) reports that the study by two professors was released Monday at the Convention & Visitors Bureau’s annual meeting. The hospitality industry includes hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues.

They found the industry bested a 2011 record, when $12.2 billion was pumped into the local economy. That’s up from $4.4 billion in 1993. It provides an annual payroll of $2.49 billion and employs 122,500 workers, about one-eighth of all employees in the city.

That employment base has increased by one-third during the past decade and has risen faster than overall employment.

Trinity University Professors Richard Butler and Mary Stefl said the city has attracted visitors even during poor economic conditions.

“One of the little reasons for that is the hospitality industry here is surprisingly recession-resistant,” said Butler, an economics professor.

He said when the economy is doing well, the city attracts travelers from New York and overseas. In down years, Texans from Houston or Dallas who can’t afford to travel abroad will visit San Antonio, Butler said.

The study found 31 million people visit the city each year, 24.9 million of which travel for leisure. Butler says the industry generates $183.5 million for the city through hotel occupancy taxes and other revenues.

Casandra Matej, head of the Convention & Visitors Bureau, highlighted projects paid for with the taxes such as River Walk and arts improvements.

“Some of these amenities that really add to the quality of life and enjoyment of public space in this community come from the funding of visitors,” she said.

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Information from: San Antonio Express-News, http://www.mysanantonio.com

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