Responding to a torrent of local criticism over comments she made recently on “Good Morning America” about Asheville, Pauline Frommer says the TV segment was a matter of good intentions gone awry.
“Doing live TV is difficult and I, unfortunately, accidentally conflated some developments,” says Frommer, who serves as the popular travel guide’s editorial director. “I never meant to say that the riverside area was recently sketchy or that it’s sketchy right now.”
During the Jan. 1 live national television broadcast, Frommer touted Asheville as this year’s top travel destination “because the sketchy riverside area has been totally redone thanks to the New Belgium Brewery, which has poured millions of dollars into this area, making new parks, artists collectives, farmers markets, bike paths.” Subsequent local media reports and commenters noted that New Belgium Brewing is nearly a year away from opening and the river area was a tourist and artist haven long before the brewery chose to build there.
New Belgium’s local spokeswoman Susanne Hacket told Asheville Blog: “It’s absolutely inaccurate for Frommer’s to credit New Belgium for the awesomeness of the River Arts District. We did not source this story and were not contacted by anyone regarding our inclusion in it or to fact check.”
The live interview aside, Frommer points to a corresponding article on the travel guide’s website that she says is a more accurate report. Frommer also says that she’s been to Asheville a couple of times herself and loves it. “It’s one of the most beautiful cities in America. It’s rich in arts and culture and a wonderful place to go,” she says. “We’re huge fans of Asheville at Frommers and really wanted to shine a positive light on the city. That was our only intention. I would hope that this publicity would help more people discover the beauties of Asheville and how wonderfully, culturally rich it is.”