Audience members take photographs of the newly unveiled logo. Photo by Scott Ball.
The Tricentennial Commission is in preparation of celebrating the 300th anniversary of San Antonio. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

A study released on Wednesday estimates that San Antonio’s 300th anniversary celebration in 2018 will have a $119.4 million impact on San Antonio’s economy.

Tricentennial Commission officials, Mayor Ivy Taylor, and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said the year of events will help raise awareness of the city around the country and around the world.

“The study is really just to get a sense about what the potential economic impact on San Antonio is and to help raise awareness about the Tricentennial,” said Dr. Steven Nivin, chief economist of the SABER Research Institute.

Nivin’s data estimates the celebrations will create 1,300 new jobs, bring 263,000 more visitors in 2018, $4 million in tax revenue for Bexar County and the City, $8 million in in-kind media coverage, and $45 million worth of generated wages and benefits.

“The impact of the Tricentennial will be experienced throughout the San Antonio area,” Tricentennial Commission CEO Edward Benavides told the Rivard Report. “We also know that the Tricentennial will present San Antonio to the world as a cosmopolitan, culturally rich and business-friendly community. This will generate business opportunities, the results which will be significant and beneficial for San Antonio in the years to come.”

The Tricentennial is a joint effort between the City, the County, and the corporate community. The total budget for the celebrations is $18 million, Benavides said.

“The City and the County have jointly come together to provide $12 million dollars in direct and in-kind financial resources,” he said. “We’re looking to the corporate community for $6 million dollars and that is underway right now.”

Taylor said the Tricentennial will help continue to attract innovators and industries for the next 300 years.

“The fiscal projections in the study are promising,” she said, “and we expect that, coupled with the cultural richness of the celebration, will leave a legacy that will be remembered for generations to come.”

Wolff said the economic study may even underestimate the Tricentennial’s impact.

“I think we’re going to see so many people come into San Antonio during that year that I think we’re gonna be overwhelmed with the various event’s we’ll be having,” he said. “We will have the first portion of San Pedro Creek  – a $132 million project – ready. All through that creek it’s going to be nothing but talk about arts and culture and we’ve invested a good chunk of money in creating what we hope will be a defining sculpture for that project.”

The year-long series of events in 2018 will focus on history and education, arts and culture, community service, and commemorative week, a week full of special celebrations.

“Local businesses will see an increase in activity in all industries,” said Tricentennial Commission President Robert Thrailkill. “San Antonio is poised to shine on the world stage as we showcase our history and our unique culture.”

The celebrations are a way to “share our story with the world,” Benavides said, and celebrate the cultural diversity of San Antonio.

“Cities that have a strong arts and culture community attract more tourists as well,” Wolff said. “That’s why I hope that when we move along with the Tricentennial that we do celebrate our local arts – the great museums, performing arts groups, and visual artists in our community.”

Rocío Guenther

Rocío Guenther worked as a bilingual reporter and editorial assistant for the Rivard Report from June 2016 to October 2017. She is originally from Guadalajara, Mexico and holds a bachelor's in English...