WATER PARK  WNC's tourism industry has focused on developing attractions that highlight the region's natural features, says Stephanie Brown of the CVB. Photo courtesy of Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau

Balancing local tourism’s costs and benefits

With an annual economic impact of $2.6 billion, tourism is a critical industry in Western North Carolina. But politicians and local residents are increasingly asking whether the tourism industry is paying a fair share of the cost of providing everything from sidewalks to roads to public safety to tourists. Now, City Councilman Gordon Smith is pushing for a new study to consider the local tourism industry’s impact and sustainability.

Buncombe County paid $6.8 million for 137 acres on Ferry Rd. in hopes of landing Deschutes Brewery. The Oregon-based beer maker eventually tapped Roanoke, VA for its East Coast expansion.

David Gantt releases timeline, documents on Buncombe-Deschutes negotiatio­ns

In the aftermath of Buncombe County’s two-year effort to convince Orgegon-based Deschutes Brewery to build its East Coast expansion here, some critics have questioned the strategies employed. Buncombe County Commission Chair David Gantt released today (March 30) a timeline of events and supplemental documents correlated to Deschutes’ decision.