Dear Friends and Supporters of Travel and Tourism:
The 87th Legislative Session will be conducted during the unprecedented backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. Severe economic hardships, unexpected levels of statewide unemployment, slumping oil and gas revenue, redistricting and conducting business in an ever-changing environment – all represent significant strains on governmental operating budgets. The impact to the U.S. economy has been painful. While the federal government has provided several economic relief packages to state and local governments, business owners, workers and taxpayers, the state of Texas is projecting a revenue shortfall for 2022-2023 biennium of $4.8 billion. Currently, the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund, has a projected balance of just more than $9 billion.
It is difficult to accurately predict just how hard our economy will be hit over the long term. Substantial reductions in both sales and alcohol tax revenue, coupled with a significant reduction in taxes paid by the state’s oil and natural gas producers – funding that supports so much critical infrastructure – will present unique challenges for the State Legislature as it works to provide a balanced state budget for the coming biennium.
The travel and tourism industry has seen an unparalleled and crippling economic crash. Businesses are struggling to find ways to serve customers and keep workers employed while doing their best to operate within governmental health guidelines. On average, hotels are experiencing occupancy rates as low as 10 percent, down more than 70 percent from the previous year. The City of San Antonio is projecting a $51 million loss in Hotel Occupancy Tax funds for FY2021.
In 2019, Visit San Antonio helped San Antonio’s travel and tourism industry, the third-largest economic sector in the city, generate more than $15 billion in positive impact. The hospitality industry, which serves up to 41 million visitors annually, has employed one out of every seven working San Antonians, or 140,000 residents.
The budget outlook for the next Texas biennium will present the entire state with significant challenges, not just to maintain public services and economic stability, but to grow and foster economic prosperity. Visit San Antonio will work with leaders and policymakers with the state and Bexar County to find the best solutions for Texas and our regional travel and tourism industry.
Visit San Antonio supports all efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus and governmental efforts to open our local and state economies, not just for the positive impact for all businesses and the people they employ, but also for a return to a more normal life. That return to normalcy will include travel and tourism for business and pleasure.
Casandra Matej, CDME, CTA
President & CEO
Visit San Antonio