San Antonio is a popular tourist destination, drawing more than 35 million visitors each year. Tourism in San Antonio currently is focussed on a wide range of tourist attractions which are concentrated within the city limits. The purpose of this study is to diversify the urban-centric tourism to the surrounding rural areas and to develop rural tourism through a sustainable model in these areas. This proposal studies and focuses on the rural outskirts of San Antonio at Mission Espada with the aim to develop rural tourism to revitalise the local agrarian-based economy and to reverse migration from rural areas to urban areas. The proposed site is around 612 hectares and is located 1.2 miles south of Mission Espada, just outside the buffer zone as it is a World Heritage site. This site has been chosen as it is accessible from Mission Espada through an asphalted country road in good condition. The road winds through country homes and farms, offering excellent vistas of the rural setting there. This road also has very little traffic which is ideal for cycling and directly connects the proposed site to the Mission Espada. The proposal is for a rural tourism hub centred around rural life in Ranches in Texas that revolve around agriculture, dairy, livestock and equestrian activities. Establishing a rural tourism model around Mission Espada would attract tourists and benefit rural communities as well. The development plan aims at creating a unique opportunity for tourists to experience the culture and heritage of Texas while creating employment opportunities and benefiting small businesses.
Keywords: Sustainable Tourism, San Antonio, Rural Tourism, Culture, Heritage