Quentin Miller swearing in

Year in review: Evolving race relations in Asheville

Asheville has gotten whiter over the past two decades. The proportion of African-American residents in the city dropped from 17.6 percent in 2000 to 12.3 percent in 2016, a change city officials attribute to a combination of white influx and black exodus. For the people of color who remained in Asheville, 2018 proved a mixed bag.

Change of face: Attracting diverse visitors to a mostly white city

Local tourism operators are sensing a shift in the racial makeup of visitors to the Asheville area. Though the data don’t definitively support that conclusion — at least not yet — efforts to make Asheville a more welcoming and inclusive destination continue, as do fledgling initiatives to give minority tourism entrepreneurs a bigger piece of the industry’s pie.

News in brief: TDA grants, ACA open enrollment

The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority announced its 2018 tourism product development funding grant awards, to the tune of nearly $10 million. Trained staff are standing by to assist with Affordable Care Act enrollment through Saturday, Dec. 15, and residents can learn more about plans to widen Sweeten Creek Road in South Asheville at a meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Stephanie Pace Brown at podium

BCTDA shares tourism growth plans at annual meeting

Roughly 1,600 new hotel rooms have opened in Buncombe County since late 2015 — an increase of approximately 15 percent over that period — with 1,900 still planned. “Since the start of this construction cycle, we’ve been able to fully absorb a pretty enormous supply,” said Explore Asheville President and CEO Stephanie Pace Brown. “We just need to do that over again in the next three or four years.”