Proposed hotel fee could use tourism dollars to improve industry
Eight years ago San Antonio controlled eleven point three percent of the hotel market in Texas, then last year that number dropped to below ten percent as Dallas, Houston, and Austin progressed.
You can't go anywhere in San Antonio without seeing a hotel on a street or even in a skyline, and right now across the street, city council is thinking about a proposal to add a fee for visitors that could change everyone's lives.
Councilman Greg Brockhouse said people come to San Antonio from all over the world.
"What we're known for is the number one tourist destination in the state of Texas." Brockhouse said.
And according to Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran, soon they might have to pay more to do it.
"It will be a 1.25 percent fee hotels will put on the visitors,” said Viagran, “This is one of the mechanisms we are using moving forward to help with marketing and showcasing our city."
According to the San Antonio Hotel and Lodging Association, guests in San Antonio pay 16.75 percent towards a hotel occupancy tax.
Brockhouse said the key to making this new fee work, is finding balance.
"What it comes down to is affordability, when they come to San Antonio are they spending enough money where they are going to stay with us and spend their time with us, if it gets to a point where it gets out of hand and they go somewhere else we have a problem." Brockhouse said.
Viagran said while more marketing could mean crowded streets, it also could change lives and create a brighter future for the city.
"When you bring more visitors you bring in more jobs with more upward mobility in San Antonio,” said Viagran, "What this can do is now allow us as a city to target those marketing dollars and showcase other parts of our city and bring economic development to the Southside and to areas of district 3."
It sounds like the city council is leaning on their experts, and will vote to approve this proposal, if that happens, then the proposed improvement districts supporters would need to gather signatures from approximately 90 of San Antonio’s 150 hoteliers with 100 rooms or more to move forward.