A model for the study of the impact of growth of tourism on historic sites in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and San Antonio, Texas
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The rapid growth in tourism, both nationally and internationally, has had a considerable impact on natural and man-made environments in economic, environmental, social, and political terms. These impacts have been identified positively and negatively in related literature depending upon the type of tourism and the size of the place. Historic cities and buildings face degradation and destruction through increased tourism. It has been a source of concern throughout the world and provides the motivation for this study. Santa Fe, New Mexico, and San Antonio, Texas are major magnet cities for tourists in their respective states. Both cities are distinguished by their heritages and town plans. The overall goal of this study is to identify and explain the impact of increasing numbers of visitors on these two historical cities. Understanding the value of the tourist industry and its relationship to historic preservation is a vital part of this research. It provides a tool for assuring the future success in both areas for these cities. In order to accurately document and analyze the research objectives, the research employed multi-method historic techniques. Historical and descriptive survey methods were used to examine specific issues of the research topic. Data was collected through literature review, archival sources, observation, and surveys. Historically, Santa Fe and San Antonio have had different experiences in the development of their tourism and historic preservation. The role of tourism is dissimilar in the economic base of both cities as is the impact of tourism due to the different size of each city, their location, history, and cultural heritage. These effects are more clearly visible in Santa Fe than in San Antonio. The results of this research indicate that careful planning efforts must be made to preserve and promote historic sites, so that they are not degraded by the impact of excessive numbers of tourists and retain their sense of place and response to the community in whose care the past is entrusted.