San Antonio golf, tourism fending off recession - for now
This week I got a sneak preview of the new JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa well under construction in the northwest part of the San Antonio, Texas. The scene doesn’t exactly jibe with current economic woes, and you can’t help but feel like it’s a race to get this mega resort up and running before the economy really goes in the tank. Although one Marriott official admitted that like everyone else, there is concern over how to fill these rooms after the resort opens, the official company line is that conventions and conferences will go on ? and Marriott expects more than 80 percent of its business to come from corporations.
Also, this new complex, with its one-of-a-kind water park, massive spa, six restaurants and PGA Tour connection, will be a one-of-kind destination in Texas. “Everybody likes new,” he said. But what happens when it isn’t new anymore?
Seeing this massive $500 million, 1,000-room hotel rising out of the rocks amidst two new championship golf courses (designed by Greg Norman and Pete Dye) under construction is a scary sight as we learn that the current downward trend in the market, which began Oct. 9, 2007, is the fourth worst on record, representing a 58 percent drop in the S&P 500 in just over a year. With the big three automakers threatening bankruptcy this week if they can’t get federal aid, there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight for this downward spiral as the PGA Tour and Marriott race toward a January 2010 completion. But what else can they do? It’s not like they can reconsider at this point of no return; they just have to hope for the best.
My guess is that they’ll figure out a way to get it completed on time, and if any city seems vibrant right now, perhaps it’s San Antonio. Earlier this week, during a dinner cruise down the San Antonio River there didn’t seem to be any shortage of tourists or regulars filling the myriad bars and restaurants along the famed RiverWalk. Perhaps we need vacations and escapes more than ever now.
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