The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority unanimously approved a total of $100,000 in funding for 25 local events and festivals at its Nov. 29 board meeting. According to Tiffany Thacker, director of grants for Explore Asheville, the investment in the projects will “enhance local experiences for both residents and visitors.”
“I did not realize that we were so far ahead of everybody else in North Carolina,” said state Sen. Julie Mayfield, D-Buncombe. “All of these other cities do a great job of marketing themselves, and they don’t spend as much money as we do.”
Figures show visitor spending on second homes doubled from 2009 to 2017, from $44.6 million to $90.4 million.
The new amenity, which will be located at the intersection of Rankin Avenue and College Street, aims to offer residents, visitors and the unhoused a safe, clean place to go when nature calls.
Explore Asheville spent more than $88,000 on a golf tournament in July, flying three stars from the MTV reality show “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” to Asheville and paying $3,591 for VIP transportation, $3,800 for personal bodyguards and amenities that included a $300 golf lesson at the Omni Grove Park Inn.
The approved projects include upgrades to the Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville and an outdoor covered equestrian arena for the WNC Agricultural Center as well as new turf, lighting and a playground for the Enka Recreation Destination.
Despite a consultant’s recommendations to merge the Buncombe County Tourism and Development Authority and the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission, BCTDA President and CEO of Explore Asheville Vic Isley said at the Sept. 27 BCTDA board meeting she intends to vote to keep the Sports Commission independent.
With the city-owned auditorium closed to ticketed shows for the foreseeable future after its heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system failed in July, leaders in the city and local arts community are hoping this is finally the moment the Wolfe will get a makeover
Representatives from LaZoom and Gray Line discuss their experiences with summer’s tourism decline.
Historically, July is the second busiest month for tourism in Buncombe County, superseded only by October. Yet, this year’s downward trend in overall lodging revenue and occupancy continued into the summer’s busy season.
It took two tries for the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority to approve spending nearly $23 million over 20 years for Asheville’s McCormick Field Centennial Restoration & Capital Improvements Project at its July 26 meeting. The motion to fund the project failed 6-2 on the first vote and passed 7-1 after the board voted again 25 minutes later.
Asheville Regional Airport’s growth has outpaced all projections, already almost doubling numbers outlined in the airport’s 20-year master plan, drafted in 2013, for 2025 enplanements. However, more travelers are creating parking headaches at the state’s third-busiest airport.
Xpress worked with Asheville-based data journalist Elliot Patterson to explore homestay permit data. The resulting analysis gives insights into how the market has changed over time, where homestays are located and who’s operating them.
“The staff of Explore Asheville get paid way beyond what the city and county are paying. It sends a message, and it’s not a message that’s good,” said board member Andrew Celwyn, who voted against the budget.
Representatives presented a petition signed by 2,000 workers and supporters asking the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority to consider using the Legacy Investment From Tourism fund to increase subsidized housing for tourism industry workers.
Consider one of these trips led by local guides for your next adventure in WNC (and eastern Tennessee).
A study commissioned for the TDA by the Huddle Up Group, a Phoenix-based sports consulting firm, recommends consolidating the sports commission into the tourism body. The TDA already funds the bulk of the commission’s work, at roughly $230,000 per year. (The city of Asheville and Buncombe County each pitch in about $45,000 annually, while UNC Asheville offers its facilities as in-kind contributions.)
The latest Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests Land Management Plan was implemented last month and outlines land use for the next 20 years.
The TDA is on track to pull in $37.6 million next fiscal year, slightly more than this year’s projected $37 million.
Attendees at baseball games may pick up part of the tab for the McCormick Field improvements through a new 50-cent “facility fee” to be added to each ticket.
Financing begins to come together to shore up McCormick Field in order to meet MLB standards.