WIT Press

Cultural Heritage Tourism And Authenticity: San Antonio Missions Historic District


Free (open access)





Page Range

15 - 27




148 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


S. Doganer & W. Dupont


This research investigates and analyzes the potential of the San Antonio Missions Historic District towards community-based cultural heritage tourism. The accelerating tourism in South San Antonio brings considerable economic and social benefit through workforce, income and infrastructure developments. Cultural heritage tourism is traveling to experience the places and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present. It is an economic development tool designed to attract visitors to an area based on the unique aspects of the locality’s history, landscape and culture. This boosts regional and local pride and is a good source of revenue and jobs. Historic preservation is a tool for preserving a historic place, incubating small businesses, revitalizing downtowns, generating local jobs, and creating improvements in a community. It is estimated that between 35 and 40 percent of tourism today represents cultural tourism or heritage tourism. As an alternative to mass tourism, cultural and heritage tourism offer opportunities for place-based engagement that frames contexts for interaction with the \“lived space” and \“everyday life” of other peoples as well as sites of global heritage value. World Heritage designation usually brings international attention and increased tourism with both positive and negative impacts. Cultural heritage tourism can bring many benefits to a local economy but it can also disrupt the quality of life of the local inhabitants. Authenticity is also critical whenever heritage is involved in tourism activities. This paper highlights the potential benefits for small business owners to connect to the growing heritage tourism economy of the San Antonio Missions Historic District. Prosperity for residents of the district is a viable path to sustaining the community’s cultural heritage, identity and authenticity. This research also investigates how to prevent


cultural heritage tourism, authenticity, sustainability, community-based design