Statement By Kenneth Svendsen, CEO of Entertainment Cruises:
“While we are disappointed by today’s City Council vote, I am exceptionally proud of our proposal and of all the work done by my colleagues at San Antonio River Cruises and our San Antonio partners. We were honored to have been considered by one of the great American Cities and grateful to be recommended not once, but twice by two independent selection committees an City staff. The groundswell of support we received from individuals and business across the local community was gratifying.
The San Antonio River Walk is the heart of this great City and we would have loved to have led the transformational change our company is known for across the country. But either way, it’s been a tremendous journey and we’ve been fortunate to meet so many wonderful San Antonians — your pride for, and love of your city is apparent and contagious. We feel privileged to have worked with great local partners such as Johnny Hernandez; Tony Gradney, Chelsea’s Catering/Tony G’s Soul. Food; Kandace Hawkins, Tri-Starr Personnel; Magaly Chocano, SWEB Development; and Melissa Aguillon, Aguillon and Associates. Thank you all.
We look forward to continuing to supporting the City as visitors and friends.”
Learn why Entertainment Cruises is the best option for San Antonio and its locals.
Read how Johnny will use San Antonio’s up-and-coming culinary scene to return the River Walk back to the residents of San Antonio.
I wholeheartedly support San Antonio River Cruises as the next operator of the River Walk barges. The operational experience that they bring to our little river would be second to none. I have been on several boat exclusions that are operated by the parent company of SARC and can tell you first hand that they run a first-class service that would make San Antonio proud. As our city grows, I think it is high time that our leaders look to the future and consider the additional clout that a truly global partner would bring to our city. My choice is clearly for San Antonio River Cruises. I own a small business and I know SARC will help to grow our economy in ways that will benefit my small business and others.
The Alamo City Black Chamber of Commerce emphatically supports San Antonio River Cruises as the next operators of River Walk barges. Our barges are in need of a makeover for tourists as well as residents. As our city continues to bloom and we become a global destination it is time we partner with a global destination it is time we partner with a global company operating tour barges for many years. This partnership will no doubt increase city revenue due to tourism as well as giving local residents the perfect opportunity to fall back in love with the harming sights and sounds of our River Walk .
High Street Wine Co. is endorsing San Antonio River Cruises as the San Antonio river barge operator of choice. As the river continues to expand its reach in the city and bring more visitors, as well as locals, to new parts of the city - including our Pearl neighborhood on the Museum Reach - we feel it is imperative the city work with the most proven and experience barge operator available.
San Antonio is my home and I want to see our city continue to grow and thrive. We need to invest in making our city a “world class” destination. Therefore, I support the selection of San Antonio Rivers Cruises as the new River Barge Operator, as recommended by the City of San Antonio Staff. After a lengthy process, both selection committees have overwhelmingly recommended San Antonio River Cruises, Inc (Entertainment Cruises, Chicago) as “the best company to improve and elevate the barge experience for locals and visitors.” That’s exactly what we need. We need to bring in ideas and innovations that will lift up the greatness that is already here. Entertainment Cruises has the experience and ‘know how’ to dramatically elevate our Riverwalk experience. I ask you to please support San Antonio River Cruises with your vote when it comes before City Council on Thursday, May 25th.
I write this in support of San Antonio River Cruises (SARC) as the next operator of the Riverwalk Barges. The operational experience that they bring to our city would be second to none. Also, their eco-friendly barges and their company’s belief of sustainability is very important to maintaining the eco-balance of our river and river walk. SARC would provide a first-class service second to none. That would not only servie many visitors and tousist but also the citizens of San Antonio. Based on this company’s history for inclusion and local partnerships, I believe that they will be an excellent partner to the city and for future growth. I believe in sustainability and the preservation of our environment. As the CEO of a Child Development Center, I have always appreciated companies that understand the importance of how their company will benefit the needs of our youth. I also as the District 2 Representative for the Edwards Aquifer Authority feel it is important that we do everything to help to enhance and protect all water, which includes the River and Riverwalk. Therefore, I encourage the Mayor and City Council of San Antonio to approve San Antonio River Cruises as the next operator of the Riverwalk Barges.
My name is Jimmy Pena and I am a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Co-Owner at Firefly Pediatrics in San Antonio. I have lived in San Antonio since 1989 and because I love what this city has to offer me and my family. I support for the selection of San Antonio Rivers Cruises as the new River Barge Operator. I agree with the city staff when they observed that Entertainment Cruises was the “top firm and by strong consensus felt that they were the best choice to take the river barge experience to the next level.” Taking things to the next level is what San Antonio does best. Be it with our beloved Spurs, our “World Heritage Designated” tourism sites, and our industry successes. Entertainment Cruises can bring a world-class experience and expertise to our Riverwalk and take our most visited tourist destination to the next level. I ask you to please support San Antonio River Cruises with your vote when it comes before City Council.
I would like to express my support for the selection of San Antonio Rivers Cruises as the new River Barge Operator. I agree with the recommendation of City Staff for a number of reasons. A big one being their commitment to give back to our community through a Community Enrichment Fund to support local development and arts initiatives across the city. It has been amazing to see the growth and development of San Antonio over the last 30 years I have been in business. While many new businesses continue to emerge and grow, there is something to be said about adding additional resources and best practices from World Class organizations such as Entertainment Cruises. Please consider supporting San Antonio River Cruises to ensure San Antonio’s continued community and economic growth and development.
We have lived in San Antonio collectively over 70 years and are committed to the future success of our city. I am writing to express my support for the selection of San Antonio Rivers Cruises as the new River Barge Operator. I agree 100% with the recommendation outlined by city staff, where they state in their memo to you that San Antonio River Cruises is “the best company to improve and elevate the barge experience for locals and visitors.” As small business owners whose products celebrate what makes San Antonio unique; we are extremely invested in the future of San Antonio. It’s imperative that San Antonio offer the best of the best and that is what Entertainment Cruises brings to San Antonio. We believe our River Barge experience can benefit from having an organization as experienced as Entertainment Cruises leading this effort, and providing access to their markets, to showcase our city. We ask you to please support San Antonio River Cruises with your vote when it comes before City Council.
My name is Letty Romero and I am the owner and CEO of Uncommon Collective,LLC a creative and innovative small business in San Antonio. I have lived in San Antonio for over 30 years and I am incredibly proud to call this place home. I am writing to express my support for the selection of San Antonio Rivers Cruises as the new River Barge Operator. I agree with the recommendation outlined by city staff, where they state in their memo that San Antonio River Cruises is “the best company to improve and elevate the barge experience for locals and visitors.” I believe that in San Antonio, we strive to achieve “the best” in everything and that should be no different and substantially more important when it comes to tourism – an industry that is such a vital part of our city’s economy. If Entertainment Cruises can bring their world-class experience and expertise to our Riverwalk and if two of the City’s selection committees agree that they are the best option, then I am wholly in favor of awarding them this contract. As a small business owner, I know everything matters, from price to experience and especially, performance. I think our River Barge experience can benefit from having an organization as accomplished in experience marketing, lead the way to a brighter future. I ask you to please support San Antonio River Cruises with your vote when it comes before City Council.
I am writing to show my support for the Entertainment Cruises. As a small Eastside business that works closely with a lot of different community partners, we really appreciate the vision this organization has. I especially love the fact that employees of this company will make twice as much money. We are huge advocates of creating opportunities for jobs and education. Better money opportunities improve home and family situations. Entertainment Cruises is very awar of community involvement and understands the positive effects of people working together.
SA River Cruises are the best qualified firm , they can "hit the water" immediately. They were rated the highest ranking because of performance, reputation finance etc. furthermore, they are the only company that reached out to African Americans with a significant partnership agreement. Can you envision Tony G's Soul Food on our River Walk? They are for real and not a Landry Seafood company. It would be a great leap backwards to support the lesser rated Go Rio joint venture, consisting of two Latina women and the Houston company. Have any of you been to the Tower restaurant lately? No customer service and the food is less than bland. This will not happen wit S A River Cruises and Chef Johnny Hernandez and Tony Gradney on board . Vote for the staff recommendation!
As an active community member and business owner, I believe we need to elevate San Antonio's river barge operation and create new and innovative River Walk experiences for both visitors and local residents. I feel San Antonio River Cruises understands this and will take the San Antonio river experience to the next level. San Antonio locals and visitors deserve the best and San Antonio River Cruises offers excellence. They can uses their depth in over 10 markets across the U. S> to promote San Antonio and will invest in San Antonio by establishing Community Enrichment Funds that support local organizations on an annual basis. Furthermore, San Antonio River Cruises will open national vendor opportunities for local businesses and provide employment opportunities for small, women, minority and veteran-owned vendors to assist them in filling San Antonio's needs -- empowering and enriching the local community to prosper and grow.
I agree with the recommendation outlined by City Staff, where they state in their memo that San Antonio River Cruises is "the best company to improve and elevate the barge experience for locals and visitors." As a San Antonio business owner, I know first hand how important it is to take all things into consideration when selecting the right person for the job. From price to experience, and, especially, performance, I think our river barge experience can benefit from having an organization as experience as Entertainment Cruises lead the way as a world-class operator.
It was our pleasure on a recent visit to Chicago to go aboard the Chicago Architectural Foundation’s River Tour. This short cruise was the highlight of our trip. I often find that seeing a city from the water provides a unique perspective. Tourism thrives on excellent experiences such as this. San Antonio needs a world- class operator for our river barges. It turns out that the Chicago tour, and others I have enjoyed, were operated by the parent company of San Antonio River Cruises . I definitely support San Antonio River Cruises as the next operator of our Riverwalk Barges. The history and culture of this city continue to draw people here as tourists, and as residents. It is time to provide the sort of remarkable experience that people will recommend to others. It is time we partner with a company that has excellent world-wide experience in the operation of river and harbor tours. I live within 300 yards of the river, and work within 900 feet of it. The river is an important asset to us.Having followed this competition and RFP process in the news, I know that this is an important decision by Council, and I would like to urge you to do the right thing- provide us with the best operator available. This partnership will not only increase city revenue due to tourism, but will draw more local residents downtown, where they might just rediscover the magic attraction that our river and our city has on people. The Riverwalk and our downtown deserve the quality of experience that San Antonio River Cruises has proposed.
I am the owner of Partners Wealth Management, a financial services firm. I have lived in San Antonio since 1971 and am personally invested in the future success of our city. I wholeheartedly support San Antoni River Cruises as the new river barge operator. I agree with the recommendation outlined by city staff, where they state in their memo that San Antonio River Cruises is the "best company to improve and elevate the barge experience for locals and visitors. As a small business owner, I have to work hard every day to earn the trust of my clients. I need to be the best I can be every day. That mindset should apply to any business, large or small, and I see that drive in the Entertainment Cruises team.
I'm writing about the barge contract: please vote with the staff recommendation. We have an outstanding City staff, and I know they have done their homework, and I feel it would be imprudent to go against what the staff recommend. Especially the Landry team. Don't get me wrong: we occasionally eat at Landry restaurants. But having them as a major player on a Riverwalk contract scares the heck out of me. I just have this instinct that our beloved, dignified Riverwalk will end up looking like a shopping mall that could be located in any city in North America. Already we have too many chain restaurants on the Riverwalk that distract from the unique charm of San Antonio. And most of those chain restaurants are owned by Landry. I'm also concerned that Ms. Andrade's role at VIA -- considering that the river barges could function as a form of public transportation, as is the case in many places -- is a major conflict of interest for someone pursuing a city contract.