SAN ANTONIO — Visit San Antonio will open an office in London to court international travelers who typically outspend local tourists and stay in the Alamo City twice as long.
The move is part of a larger strategy Visit San Antonio CEO Marc Anderson is implementing.
"We need to tell the story of San Antonio, not only domestically, but also globally," he told KENS 5 Thursday.
Historically, most of San Antonio's visitors come from elsewhere in Texas. International tourists typically come from Mexico or Canada.
Before the pandemic, about 20,000 people from the United Kingdom visited San Antonio each year. Anderson says those travelers generated $40 million for the local economy.
"As we build ourselves into a global brand, there is no better time... to open our first office overseas," he said.
Visit San Antonio will contract with consultants already in London. Those workers will pitch San Antonio to travel agencies, journalists, and tour operators who can steer Europeans to the Alamo City.
In the process, Anderson says his staff will actively pursue adding flights from San Antonio International airport to the U.K. and Germany. He hopes the consultants will bolster city leaders' efforts to secure direct, international flights.
"We're hoping they open even more doors than the people we're currently talking to," Anderson said.
Philanthropists, city executives, and government officials are quietly mounting a massive campaign to land more planes at San Antonio International. Planned airport renovations will aid their efforts.
Their strategy is key to luring business executives to the city. Local leaders have long pined for better travel options.
San Antonio lost AT&T's headquarters, largely, because corporate officials could not find direct flights from SAT to major U.S. cities and international destinations.
"You can rest assured we're doing our job for everyone in San Antonio to get those nonstop international flights to and from our city," Anderson said. "Not only are we trying to grow our global brand from a leisure perspective and for meetings, conventions, and travelers - but also those corporations we're hoping to lure to our city, as well."