Leaders gather to discuss local tourism development

Pictured: Mike Konzon, principal at PGAV Destinations. Photo by Jake Frankel.

About 150 community leaders gathered Dec. 11 to discuss Asheville’s strengths as a tourism destination, learn about new projects in the works, and share ideas for the future.

“Asheville has a really strong brand. We hear about Asheville all over the country,” reported keynote speaker Mike Konzon, principal at PGAV Destinations, a global leader in the the business of planning and designing tourism sites.

He encouraged local leaders to maintain the sense of the town’s authenticity – even as it takes intentional steps to increase visitation. “Authenticity is what separates Asheville from Greenville or any other place people want to go,” he said.

A range of business and governmental representatives then reported on a number of projects due to be completed in coming years that could help attract tourists. Many of them are slated for the River Arts District, such as New Belgium Brewing’s major new facility, the RAD Lofts mixed use development, a new outdoor adventure center, and new greenways.

Brainstorming and networking sessions followed.  One of the goals, said Marla Tambellini, Deputy Director of the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau, was “to get people thinking collaboratively.”

Xpress will have more coverage of this event and related issues in coming days.


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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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