Before we go hog wild on marketing Asheville to the world, can we pause (or at least more slowly ramp up) to consider what’s best for the city and its inhabitants? What results came from the study on tourism and the recent moratorium on hotel development? How can the city best heal from the effects of the pandemic?
I think having the city immediately overrun with tourists may not be the best idea, except for the hotels. Yes, the restaurants that made it through deserve to be rewarded. But there are a lot of people struggling in this town. And minimum-wage jobs (or less than minimum-wage jobs when you think of the restaurant servers) aren’t helping.
Fifteen million dollars on marketing? Is that the best use of that money? I agree with Ben Williamson [“Rampant Tourism or True Progress? Buncombe Commissioners Must Rein in the TDA,” May 12, Xpress] to defund the Tourism Development Authority until the state recognizes that Asheville needs a more useful distribution of these funds.
— Mark H. Bloom