November 30, 2022

Greetings on Behalf of the Buncombe County TDA

Today’s Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (BCTDA) meeting took place at The Collider, a coworking, office, meeting, workshop, and event space that was a recipient of Tourism Product Development Fund (TPDF) investment. It’s one of 46 community projects made possible in part through occupancy tax dollars paid by visitors staying in Buncombe County hotels, vacation rentals, and bed and breakfasts. During the last board meeting of 2022, several important topics were shared and discussed:

As two board members conclude their service, we want to recognize and thank all BCTDA Board of Directors, and the members of the Tourism Product Development Fund and Festival & Cultural Events Support Fund committees for their stewardship and thoughtful decision-making on behalf of our community.

There is much to celebrate this season, and we are thankful for your community support, as we continue our work advocating for this creative community.

Kathleen Mosher Chair


Room Demand Growth by Year through October
Room Demand Continues to Outpace Benchmark Years

Room demand, the total number of hotel rooms or rentals sold or rented, continues to be on the rise. Vacation rental demand is closing in on the demand for hotel rooms, with homestays keeping pace with overall increased demand.


Elizabeth Putnam serves as our newest board member 

Elizabeth Putnam was recently appointed by the Buncombe County Commission as the first and sole representative of vacation rental owners and management companies. Legislative changes in July prompted this shift in board composition to better reflect vacation rentals' share in the collection of occupancy taxes. 

Elizabeth, who’s an Asheville native and realtor at Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty, got her start in hospitality with her short-term rental property.


A Nine Dollar Return for Every Dollar Spent 
The US Open Sponsorship Yielded $13.2 Million in Media Value

The US Tennis Association and media analysts provided a recap of the US Open with Explore Asheville’s sponsorship. The estimated media value, based on audience and airtime, totaled $13.2 million. That means every dollar invested in sponsorship generated a nine-dollar return to date. The 2022 US Open set its highest-ever attendance record for the tournament, welcoming 888,044 fans. Television viewership also reached all-time highs, with 216.6 million global viewers, a 20 percent increase from the previous year.

The US Open partnership shined a spotlight on Asheville through on-court signage in Arthur Ashe Stadium, videoboards at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, a sponsored session, and in-person client engagement through two suite sessions. It also afforded Asheville exposure through multiple US Open channels, such as marketing messages on, US Open radio, and newsletter.

One reason Explore Asheville decided to partner with the US Open was the opportunity for exposure to a wide audience equally split between gender and age. Sponsorship of this event also supports our strategic imperative to engage and invite more diverse audiences, as 34% of fans were of non-Caucasian descent.

The consumer research survey following the event showed that 36% of fans who attended matches at Explore Asheville courts recalled our branding, and 46% of all attendees responded they are likely to try a product or service that is a US Open Partner.

We expect this partnership to continue encouraging prospective visitors, meetings, and events to choose Asheville.

Recent Media Partnerships that Further Shine a Light on Asheville

Jacqui Gifford, editor in chief of Travel + Leisure, hosted two live segments on the TODAY Show naming Asheville in the top 25 best towns for a winter getaway. This coverage was seen by two million viewers, generating $76,000 in broadcast media value and $9,900 in online media value.

Garden & Gun, Made in the South Awards

An 18-month partnership with Garden & Gun magazine culminated with a multi-day local celebration of Asheville’s creative spirit and the 2022 Made in the South Awards. The judges selected two local businesses, Biscuit Head and Poppy popcorn, for top honors in the food category.

Asheville Championship

Earlier this month, this basketball tournament kicked off the men's college season for the second year. Games were televised on ESPN networks and generated over $800,000 in direct spending here for local businesses in the shoulder season month of November.


Projects Powered by Visitors Break Ground
Six Community Projects to Reach Completion Next Year

Earlier this month, our community celebrated the groundbreaking of the YMI Cultural Center renovation, which received $800,000 from the Tourism Product Development Fund. Another TPDF recipient, the North Carolina Glass Center, will be breaking ground on Dec 1 at their second location, expanding into Black Mountain. This development benefitted from $300,000 of investment from the fund, which comes from overnight stays in Buncombe County.   

We anticipate more of these investments in the community, as recent updates to state legislation now dedicate a larger share (1/3) of occupancy taxes go toward the TPDF and the forthcoming Legacy Investment from Tourism (LIFT) fund. We look forward to the launch of six exciting new community projects, expected to be complete before the end of 2023.


The FY22 Annual Report is Available Online 

The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority Annual Report is now available for download, providing a quick review of the fiscal year that ended in June 2022, plus an early look at Explore Asheville's scope of work for the year ahead.

FY22 marks the first full year that Explore Asheville’s departments were guided by four strategic imperatives, aimed at aligning our work with the broader community’s goals. These were identified through deep listening sessions and engaging with residents. These targets prioritize the advancement of equity and sustainability in our promotion and management of Asheville as a destination for leisure and business travelers.

View the FY22 Annual Report

Find documents from the November 30 board meeting HERE >>

Wednesday, January 25 | 9 a.m.–11 a.m.
Explore Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau | 27 College Place | 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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