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SAN ANTONIO-San Antonio is scheduled to welcome 60,000 visitors to business meetings and conventions in the next six weeks. Odds are that not all of them will show up to stroll the River Walk, visit the Alamo, stay in the city’s hotels and eat in its restaurants.

That’s the early impact of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the resulting slow down in travel, but San Antonio travel officials hope that much of the business lost now can be made up longer term. Business and leisure visitors make tourism San Antonio’s No. 2 business behind the medical and health industry. The city, which is the top tourist destination in Texas, draws more than $4 billion from 8 million visitors.

The first quarter is usually busiest for business visitors to San Antonio hotels, according to Doug Sutton at Source Strategies, a San Antonio firm that tracks hotels. Business heats up again in late September the summer heat abates, and continues into October and November. The slowdown will have less impact of the city’s leisure traveler, who visits historical site such as the Alamo and the theme parks in the summer.

Four meetings, which would have brought 4,000 visitors, were cancelled last week after the attacks, Joel Williams, a spokesman for the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau, tells GlobeSt.com. He says the groups have indicated they intend to reschedule. “We have a number of other conventions that are still planning to come here, although we’re hearing from some of them that their attendance might not be as large as originally projected,” he says.

For example, the National Federation of Republican Women probably won’t bring the 3,300 visitors it was supposed to for a meeting this week, Williams says. “There may not be quite as many coming, but we’re thankful they’re still coming.”

Henry Feldman, president of the Greater San Antonio Hotel-Motel Association, says that September business has been wiped out. “The hotel industry in San Antonio and certainly throughout the United States has taken a severe hit in September, being without planes for four days, which is unprecedented,” he tells GlobeSt.com.

However, he says he’s optimistic about the rest of the year. Airline travelers will feel safer than ever once the airport and airline security measures are worked out, says Feldman, who manages the 337-room La Mansion del Rio Hotel on the River Walk. “I’m relatively optimistic that there are not going to be any long-term effects on our industry here,” he says. “That’s dependent on a lot of factors. It’s dependent, largely, on how quickly we can define for the general public how safe it is to fly.

Until then, he says, some Texas groups that might have scheduled meetings out of state are likely to stay in Texas so their members can get there by car. The hotel has also heard from leisure travelers who are taking shorter trips by car rather than fly to Hawaii or Europe.

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