buncombe county tourism development authority

Come Back Tourists: Oops, Never Mind

Jul 29, 2020

TDA ads start, stop as virus surges

Buncombe County’s Tourist Development Authority began advertising for tourists to visit Asheville again – on the same day that the county’s top public health official said coronavirus cases were “rising at an alarming rate.”

The ad campaign, designed to promote “the safe and responsible return of visitation,” featured social media posts like one picturing a young couple picnicking on the bank of a river. “We invite you to pack your bags and masks, and safely experience our mountain oasis.”

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

When the North Carolina General Assembly reconvenes next week, lawmakers will look at a bill that would set aside $5-million in recovery funds for tourism-related businesses in Buncombe County.  

Cass Herrington / BPR News

 

Tourists versus locals. It’s one of the defining conflicts at the heart of Asheville.  It’s also playing out in how the city chooses to preserve and retell the history of its shrinking black community.  

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

As the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority sets a new course on how it will dole out revenue it takes in from the hotel occupancy tax, a report it commissioned shows average wages are higher in the county for tourism jobs than in the rest of North Carolina.  But some common jobs within the industry still have a pay rate beneath what's considered a living wage for the area.

Cass Herrington / BPR News

The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority is opening itself to locals’ concerns in a series of public sessions. The TDA held three public workshops last week at the U.S. Cellular Center. 

About 50 people have gathered at a gallery inside the Refinery Building in Asheville’s South Slope. It’s a whos-who among people in local dance, theater, music, the visual arts.

They’re here as a nascent arts alliance, putting new effort behind a familiar message—that city and county officials should prioritize the arts in their annual budgets.

Artists in Asheville aren’t unique in this sense—artists everywhere apply and compete for funding from their state and regional arts councils. They’re the custodians of the portion of your tax dollars that fund arts and culture in our communities.

STR Inc.

Keep the momentum going is the message from the latest analysis of Buncombe County’s lodging market by hotel industry tracker STR Incorporated.  The report was presented on Friday by STR’s Bennjin Lao at an event hosted by the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority and the Explore Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Matt Bush BPR

The hotel construction boom in Asheville is showing no signs of slowing down.  Once of the city's most iconic buildings appears to the be the next that will transform into a hotel.  Jason Sandford of AshVegas stopped by the BPR studios to talk with Matt Bush about the future of the Flatiron Building - as well as the latest of the other parts of Asheville's hotel boom.

Excerpts of the interview - 

The latest report from Buncombe County tourism officials shows just how much short-term rentals have completely transformed lodging in the area.  Short-term rentals, booked through sites like AirBnB, have seen rapid growth in the past two years.  The report compiled the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority shows in 2015, just under 92-thousand room nights were booked with short-term rentals.  Just two years later, that number was over 392-thousand.  Tha