October 26, 2022

Greetings on Behalf of the Buncombe County TDA

Following evaluation and recommendation from its Tourism Product Development Committee, the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority approved more than $9 million dollars of new investment today for community projects that will benefit residents and visitors alike. These 10 capital projects throughout Buncombe County will cultivate community, foster local business, and enhance our built and natural environments.

In addition to the $6.64 million approved for two other projects in the Authority’s August meeting, Tourism Product Development Fund investments now total more than $15.68 million in awards this year.

  • City of Asheville: $6.45 million (42%)
  • Buncombe County Government: $6.64 million (41%)
  • Non-Profit Partners: $2.58 million (17%)

With today’s decision, the authority has committed nearly $60 million to 46 community tourism projects since the fund’s inception. 

Additionally, the board approved $90,150 in grant funding for 23 local Festivals & Cultural Events taking place in 2023, from Blue Ridge Pride Festival and LEAF Downtown to Peace Gardens Spring Fling and Asheville’s Honeyfest.

And we can't lose sight of the significance of the marketing fund to our community and local businesses. Our travel and hospitality community is a major economic driver, generating $2.6 billion dollars in direct visitor spending for a wide variety of local businesses and 27,000 total jobs for Buncombe County residents in 2021. It is vital that we continue to inspire visitors to choose Asheville for leisure and business travel for the health and vibrancy of our creative economy.

Kathleen Mosher Chair


Total Room Demand Outpaces 2019 & 2021 through September
Increased Lodging Inventory, Particularly in Vacation Rentals, Impacts Occupancy Performance

Room Demand continues to rise slightly, now outpacing 2019 and 2021 figures through September. Consequently, occupancy rates are trending lower due to the increase in new vacation rental inventory. September 2022 hotel occupancy came in at 75% percent, down four points from 2019 levels and even with 2021; while vacation rental occupancy was up three points from 2019 levels, and down three points from 2021. 

Additonally, the Asheville Regional Airport continues to endure record breaking passenger counts and is on target to finish with 1.8 million passengers this year.



BCTDA Approves Historic $15 Million for 2022 Grant Cycle 
Municipal Projects Make Up the Lionshare of TPDF Investments 

The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (BCTDA) approved more than $9 million dollars of new investment for 10 community projects that will benefit residents and visitors. In addition to the $6.64 million approved for two Buncombe County projects in the BCTDA’s August meeting, Tourism Product Development Fund (TPDF) investments now total more than $15.68 million in awards this year making it the largest amount granted in the history of the fund. 

Following guidelines and practice of the TPDF legislation, the Tourism Product Development Committee evaluated all projects and provided a recommendation, resulting in the BCTDA’s approval of $9,042,570 to be awarded to 10 recognized community projects. These transformational projects reinforce Asheville’s sense of place through the preservation of historical community assets, modernization of our cultural destinations, and enhancement of natural amenities. Each project also meets the board's request to be in the community and working for the community, builds off of residents' desire for additional trails and recreation options, and diversifies investment in and outside of downtown. The BCTDA prioritized primarily shovel-ready projects that will be accessible to the community as early as next year.

The BCTDA greenlighted $6.45 million of investment in projects proposed and prioritized by the City of Asheville, making up 41% of 2022 TPDF grants. These City of Asheville projects include:

  • Revitalization of Asheville Muni Golf Course - $1.64 million
  • First 1.3 miles of the Swannanoa River Greenway - $2.3 million
  • Rennovations and Expansion of the WNC Nature Center - $567,000
  • Actualization of Coxe Avenue Green Street - $1.95 million

The recipients of the remaining $2.58 million advanced a series of community-driven projects that elevate the proliferation of arts and sciences and expand our local portfolio of outdoor recreation experiences. These non-profit projects include:

  • Rennovation and Expansion of the UNC Asheville Karl Straus Track - $1.5 million
  • Greenway phase at Karen Cragnolin Park - $360,790
  • Glass Center in Black Mountain - $330,000
  • Phase I of AVL Unpaved - $188,355
  • Asheville Museum of Science Beautification Project - $125,000
  • Rennovation of the Wortham Center Phase II - $80,000

Since the inception of the TPDF in 2001, BCTDA has now awarded nearly $60 million to 46 community projects that benefit both residents and visitors.

2022 TPDF Press Release


22 Local Festivals & Cultural Events Receive Grant Support from Buncombe County TDA
More than $90,000 to be Invested in Local Festivals & Events in 2023

An eclectic collection of 22 community festivals and cultural events that align with the BCTDA's strategic imperatives and where residents as well as visitors can join in celebrating will receive financial support in 2023 through the authority's Festivals & Cultural Events Support Fund.

This year's grants, totaling $90,150, are made possible using unrestricted, earned revenue collected through advertising sales and lodging reservations booked on ExploreAsheville.com. This earned revenue fund is another way the Buncombe County TDA invests in our community. It does not have the same state level restrictions as occupancy tax revenue. 

An additional $9,850 has been held in a reserve and will become available for future festival and cultural event sponsorships in 2023. The next quarterly deadline for sponsorship applications is November 15.

Festivals & Cultural Events Support Fund

Find documents from the October 26 board meeting HERE >>

Wednesday, November 30 | 9 a.m.–11 a.m.
The Collider | 1 Haywood Street, 4th Floor | Asheville
Details to be posted HERE >>

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

Follow Our Progress

Established by state law to administer the occupancy tax paid by overnight visitors according to the enabling legislation, the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority is a public authority with a public purpose to enhance the economic vitality of Buncombe County. It is led by 11 local, appointed volunteers (two of whom are ex-officio members) who provide professional expertise to ensure the effective use of the tax to benefit our community and the people who live here. BCTDA meetings are open to the public.

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