Scott Ball / Rivard Report
San Antonio was ranked 10th on Travel + Leisure’s Top 15 Cities in the U.S. 2017. The list is part of T+L’s annual World’s Best survey series, which compiles votes from readers in print, online, and through social media to assess various aspects of travel experience.
San Antonio fared well in the 2017 rankings, climbing two ranks from 12th in 2016, surpassing Chicago and San Francisco. Last year, San Antonio scored 83.99, and this year increased one-half point to 84.49.
“We’re always proud when one of the world’s most significant travel media [organizations] recognizes San Antonio as one of the world’s truly authentic and beloved destinations,” said Visit San Antonio President and CEO Casandra Matej in a Tuesday email to the Rivard Report Tuesday. “In this case, the fact of its readers making the selection makes it even more special. San Antonio welcomes more than 20 million overnight leisure visitors annually, and it’s because we continue to maintain a timeless appeal.”
Austin also climbed in the rankings, from 9th in 2016 with 84.57 to 8th this year with 84.72.
Charleston, S.C., topped the list for the fifth consecutive year with a score of 91.54. This year, Santa Fe, N.M. replaced New Orleans as No. 2 with 89.94, and Savannah, Ga., remained at No. 3 with 89.30. The South, in which T+L includes Texas, held a majority eight out of the 15 cities listed.
Though details are not given about individual cities, music and food attractions were a focus of the list’s opening brief, explaining in part why Austin’s established and San Antonio’s burgeoning cultural scenes moved ahead in the ranks. In both 2016 and 2017, Texas has been the only state to have more than one city listed, highlighting its unique and growing cultural capital.
Cities become candidates for the survey after reaching a certain minimum of reader nominations. Cities on the survey are assessed on sights and landmarks, culture, food, friendliness, shopping, and overall value. Each category is scored on a five-point scale from poor to excellent. The survey is open for four months each year, after which scores are compiled and averaged out of 100.
The survey is run and monitored for fraudulent voting by New Jersey-based digital marketing firm Wylei. Candidate cities are allowed to promote the survey through email and social media within certain guidelines.