Blessed with Tourists

The Borderlands of Religion and Tourism in San Antonio

By Thomas S. Bremer

224 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 22 illus., 3 maps, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5580-5
    Published: December 2004
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-7655-8
    Published: March 2006
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-7941-7
    Published: March 2006

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More than a million tourists visit religious landmarks in San Antonio, Texas, each year, observing and sometimes participating in religious activities there. The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park--managed by the National Park Service, in cooperation with the Catholic Church--is one of hundreds of religious places in America and around the world where tourists have become a familiar presence. In Blessed with Tourists, Thomas S. Bremer explores the intersection of tourism and commerce with religion in American, using the missions and other San Antonio sites as prime examples.

Bremer recounts the history of San Antonio, from its Native American roots to its development as a religious center with the growth of the Spanish colonial missions, to the modern transformation of San Antonio into a tourist destination. Employing both ethnographic and historical approaches, Bremer examines the concepts of place, identity, aesthetics, and commercialization, demonstrating numerous ways that modern market forces affect religious communities. By identifying important connections between religious and touristic practices, Bremer establishes San Antonio as a distinctive source for anyone seeking to understand the interplay between the religious and the secular, the traditional and the modern.

About the Author

Thomas S. Bremer is assistant professor of religious studies at Rhodes College.
For more information about Thomas S. Bremer, visit the Author Page.


"The book is well written and accessible to a large audience and addresses current issues in American cultural studies, such as race and class. . . . Scholars . . . will find this book impressive and helpful for thinking about the relationship between religion and tourism."--Journal of American Folklore

"Will be of interest to all students of American church history."--Word and World

"Successful in examining a number of emerging themes in the study of religion and tourism, including the intersection between religion and capitalism, the production and consumption of religious sites by pilgrims and tourists, the process of resolution of contested interpretations of sacred sites, and secular interests in sacred sites."--The Professional Geographer

"A reasoned, scholarly analysis. . . . Recommended."--Choice

"Bremer does an excellent job of explaining the conflict among local residents, religious practitioners, and tourists. If you are planning a trip to San Antonio or want to know more about the Alamo City, get a copy of Blessed with Tourists."--Mexia Daily News

"This book is at once a fine biography of the evolution of an interesting American city and a revealing case study of the many links between religion and tourism and how modern market forces and the production, consumption, and expression of religion influence each other in so many ways. The subject is wonderful, the research is impeccable, and Bremer writes elegantly and accessibly."--Edward T. Linenthal, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh