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​Tourism to San Antonio Missions creates $12 million in economic benefits

July 12, 2021 | posted by Today's Catholic newspaper

Topics: In the Press, Breaking News

Tourism to San Antonio Missions creates $126 million in economic benefits

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 1.1 million visitors to San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2020 spent $84.3 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,240 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $126 million.

San Antonio Missions is one of more than 420 parks in America’s national park system. The four NPS managed Missions which include active church parishes, plus the Alamo (Mission Valero) comprise San Antonio Missions World Heritage Site, one of only 24 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the United States, alongside other American treasures such as Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty. This report not only confirms the park’s role in the San Antonio economy, but also underscores its value to visitors from all over the world.

“We have been safely increasing access and services at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park,” said Superintendent Christine Jacobs. “We have also resumed daily interpretive programs with tours of Mission San Jose daily at 11am and ranger talks in the afternoons. These programs are open to all visitors and are free of charge.” San Antonio Missions supports the local community by preserving these special sites for future generations and offering recreational opportunities to connect with them. Historic preservation and recreation combine for some impactful economic benefits.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists with the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey. The report shows $14.5 billion of direct spending by more than 237 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 234,000 jobs nationally; 194,400 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $28.6 billion.

Looking at the economics of visitor spending nationally, the lodging sector had the highest direct effects, with $5 billion in economic output. The restaurant sector had the second greatest effects, with $3 billion in economic output. Visitor spending on lodging supported more than 43,100 jobs and more than 45,900 jobs in restaurants. Visitor spending in the recreation industries supported more than 18,100 jobs and 14,300 jobs in retail.

Report authors also produce an interactive tool that enables users to explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available on the NPS Social Science Program page on

To learn more about national parks in Texas and how the National Park Service works with Texas communities to preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to