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March Madness visitors arrive as San Antonio hotel occupancy rebounds

New data from STR indicates visitors occupied about 61 percent of San Antonio hotel rooms last month, up from 46 percent in Feb. 2021.

SAN ANTONIO — As San Antonio's hospitality industry continues its rebound, Basketball fans from across the country checked in to local hotels Wednesday. 

The Alamo City will host three March Madness tournament games, beginning Thursday night.

"We're coming out of the pandemic," said San Antonio Hotel and Lodging Association president Michelle Madson. "We're finally in a place where we are looking at growth, rather than just trying to keep the doors open." 

On average, 76 percent of San Antonio's hotel rooms were booked during the first 19 days of March. About 66 percent of rooms were occupied during the same time period last year, according to hospitality analysts at STR. 

The occupancy rate hovered around 61 percent last month, compared to 46 percent in Feb. 2021, STR data indicates. 

"We're excited to have that momentum, finally, after several years of trying to create it," Madson said.

The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo provided a boon to the local tourism and hospitality industry in February. Spring break, March Madness, and Fiesta will attract more visitors until peak travel season in the summer. 

About one-in-seven San Antonio residents works in hospitality. The hotel occupancy tax generates millions each year for the city. 

"When we are able to serve guests and to serve visitors that means we're better able to serve our employees," Madson said. 

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