From left: Meherwan Irani, Chai Pani; Katie Button, Cúrate; Debbie Word, Chemist Spirits; Danielle Donaldson, Chemist Spirits; Ryan Tarrant, The FIRC Group

James Beard Awards, Daytime Emmys & More
Local partners recognized for leadership with honors, awards & accolades

The national spotlight is on local people and places with recently announced honors – including Asheville winners of the prestigious James Beard Award just last night. Congratulations to Chai Pani, honored as Outstanding Restaurant, and Cúrate, for Outstanding Hospitality. The James Beard Foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Awards were announced in a ceremony in Chicago. View here >>

While the James Beard Awards are likened to the "Oscars" of the culinary profession, the Daytime Emmy Awards hold prestige as daytime television's biggest event. An organizer of the awards show discovered Chemist Spirits Gin while vacationing in Asheville last summer. That visit turned into an invitation from Emmy producers for the handcrafted spirit to serve as the official gin of the Daytime Emmy Awards.

Other recent partner accolades

  • Asheville Art Museum is one of six recipients of the 2022 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. 
  • Ryan Tarrant, of The FIRC Group, Inc., was presented the 2022 Cambria Hotels Director of Sales of the Year Award from Choice Hotels International, Inc.
  • Hilton Biltmore Park was the recipient of an Award of Excellence for Hilton Hotels across the U.S. and Canada (499 rooms and less), based on guest service scores and other factors, revealed recently at the Hilton America's Leadership Conference.

...and Asheville, too!

Asheville itself has also been recognized once again – this time as the 7th fastest growing tech hub in the country. Take a look here >> and see more Asheville accolades here >>

GOT NEWS? Let Us Know!
Videos Showcase Asheville's Offerings for Group Planners
Told through interviews with local hospitality leaders, emphasis is on historic & remarkable venues & Asheville's natural beauty & creative spirit

A crew with Northstar Travel Group recently spent five intensive days in Asheville to produce a pair of videos showcasing our mountain city’s offerings for group planners. Those in search of locations to hold meetings, executive retreats, conferences, and incentive trips will be inspired by Asheville's spirit, scenic beauty, fresh mountain air, and unique spaces for group gatherings.

The videos will be shared with Northstar's audience of event planners and meeting and incentive professionals, promoted prominently on their websites and social channels, and shared via dedicated emails and in the daily Meeting News newsletter.

'Ways to Pack Smart for Hiking' Video Features WNC Brands
Messaging is in alignment with strategic pillar, 'Encourage Safe & Responsible Travel'

Just in time for summer hiking, Explore Asheville produced a spot offering "Ways to Pack Smart for Hiking." Featuring images of locally manufactured brands such as ENO, SylvanSport, Astral and Kitsbow, the 30" segment provides tips for gearing up for a safe, comfortable and sustainable experience, including a reminder to "Leave No Trace."

VIEW: 'Ways to Pack Smart for Hiking'


Tourism Summit 2022: A Look Back
Get a link to the Black Traveler Resource Toolkit here

We're grateful for the energy and enthusiasm that filled two ballrooms at Omni Grove Park Inn on May 18 when Explore Asheville hosted Tourism Summit 2022: The Future of Travel. With inspiring remarks from Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer, an engaging keynote on the Foundations of Storytelling by Stewart Colovin of MMGY Global Brand Strategy, and an eye-opening diversity training workshop focused on Black travelers, this signature annual event was held in person for the first time since 2019.

Evita Robinson, the globally recognized founder of NOMADNESS Travel Tribe, an online social community primarily for travelers of color, led the workshop joined by professors Alana Dillette and Stefanie Benjamin, co-directors of Tourism RESET, a research collaborative focusing on issues around race, ethnicity and social equity in tourism. Find the Black Traveler Resource Toolkit shared by workshop presenters here >>

Check out the photo gallery from the event, with new images added just this week. Feel free to tag yourself and share!

VIEW: Tourism Summit 2022 Photo Gallery


Upcoming Local Events Supported by Buncombe County TDA
Support aligns with strategic imperatives

In alignment with Explore Asheville's strategic imperatives, Buncombe County TDA is a supporter of the following upcoming community events. Note: The next deadline to apply for sponsorship support is August 15. Learn more here >>

- Asheville Ideas Fest | June 14-18
- Downtown After 5 | June 17*
- ALT/ASO | June 21
- Shindig on the Green | June 25**

* Continues monthly through September
** Continues throughout July & August


  • WHAT: Buncombe County TDA: Monthly Meeting
  • WHEN: 9:00–10:00 a.m.
  • WHERE: Explore Asheville | 27 College Place
  • MORE INFO: Details to come here >>
  • SAVE THE DATE! Explore Asheville Summer Social
  • WHEN: 4:30–6:30 p.m.
  • WHERE: Marquee | 36 Foundy Street
  • MORE INFO: Details to come here >>
Partner Opportunities: Other upcoming dates & deadlines

 * JUNE 21, 5PM: DEADLINE FOR 'ART IN THE HEART' PROPOSALS. Artists & creatives are invited to submit proposals for Art in the Heart, which will support the production/installation of up to 10 temporary art projects and/or experiences in Pack Square Plaza, with artist stipends ranging from $500 to $1,500. Find details here >>

 * JULY 15: DEADLINE FOR TRAILBLAZER NOMINATIONS. Business North Carolina magazine is seeking nominations for people who are under 40 as of June 30, who are having significant business success and are making a positive impact on their community. Selections will be profiled in the October magazine. Online nomination form here >>


JetBlue Makes Its Inaugural
BOS-AVL Flight This Week

Announcement of expansion first made in Spring 2021

The time is finally here as JetBlue makes its inaugural flight from Boston Logan International Airport to Asheville Regional Airport. “It is an exhilarating day for Western North Carolina when we learn that JetBlue is adding Asheville to their route map,” said AVL Executive Director Lew Bleiweis in April 2021 when the airline announced its Summer 2022 plans.

Thanks to the interest in our community as a leisure destination, air traffic at AVL is growing more quickly than in other markets. The volume of visitors to our area helps support the growth of direct flights in our market, enabling residents to take advantage of better connectivity for their own travel. Have a good flight!

Deliver Balanced Recovery & Sustainable Growth | Encourage Safe & Responsible Travel |
Engage & Invite More Diverse Audiences | Promote & Support Asheville's Creative Spirit

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