Press Release Oct 19, 2015

Community Celebrates San Antonio's Spanish Missions World Heritage Site

Ceremony Honors Missions as the 23rd World Heritage Site in United States

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio’s five Spanish colonial missions – four of them already protected as a national park – are being celebrated as one of the newest United Nations’ World Heritage Sites in a ceremony attended by world dignitaries and local community members. Representatives from the United States, Spain, and Mexico gathered with thousands of San Antonio citizens in a celebration ceremony at Mission San José to formally welcome the San Antonio Missions into the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) World Heritage List.

A World Heritage designation brings awareness to the “outstanding universal value” and “cultural significance” of these missions as they join the ranks of other important global sites, including the Great Wall of China, Stonehenge, and the Giza Pyramid of Egypt. Designation as a World Heritage Site reflects the global interest in and historical impact of a certain location, which generates an increase in tourism to the site.

San Antonio – a city that brings in nearly $12 billion each year from tourism – will benefit greatly from this notable designation, as more people visit to experience and enjoy one of America’s favorite places. A 2013 Bexar County economic impact study indicated the designation would provide more than $100 million in additional economic impact, more than 1,000 new local jobs, and more than $2 million in hotel tax revenue over a 10-year period.

Below is a statement from Suzanne Dixon, Senior Director, Regional Operations of the National Parks Conservation Association:

“This celebration ceremony is the culmination of nine years of work by this community and its allies to make this designation a reality. The World Heritage List recognizes the most significant natural and cultural sites on the planet, and our missions have secured this prestigious and well-deserved distinction. The San Antonio missions are the country’s largest collection of Spanish colonial resources. They now stand among Earth’s greatest natural and cultural landmarks. World Heritage Sites draw visitors from around the world, providing not only prestige to local communities but also a boost to their economies. Here in Texas, this means well-paying jobs in a sustainable economy built around our cultural heritage.”


About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit

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