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.

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.