2022 Collaborations Worth Writing Home About
Taking a Moment to Reflect on Connections Made this Year

Investments in Local Community Projects, Festivals, and Cultural Events

Through local community partnerships, the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (BCTDA) invested more than $15.68 million in local community projects, making it the largest annual investment since the 20-year inception of the Tourism Product Development Fund (TPDF). Local municipalities and nonprofits presented meritable community projects set to generate overnight visitation to Buncombe County and increase the quality of life for residents. Additionally, the BCTDA invested more than $90,000 to support 22 local festivals and cultural events, and provided an additional $75,000 in sponsorship aid from earned revenue.

All Tourism Product Development Fund (TPDF) Projects

Regional Community & Neighborhood Spotlights 

Buncombe County is home to a plethora of distinct and vibrant communities. As part of Explore Asheville’s strategic imperative of delivering balanced recovery and sustainable growth, we’ve partnered with local communities to boost visitation throughout the county. This month we highlighted the quaint, not-so-sleepy town of Weaverville

Explore our Region Highlights

The Heart of Hospitality is Right Here in Asheville, NC

By sharing the real-life stories of local leaders in hospitality, we provided a glimpse into ways that tourism and hospitality professionals pursue their dreams and thrive. Interviews with local artist Jenny Pickens, executive chef Steven Goff, Lucky W Farm & Cottage owner Jessica Withers, Aloft Hotel General Manager Dexter Hazel, and founder and owner of Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours Kaye Bentley, shed a light on how we are all one family that collectively contributes to the experience that Asheville has to offer.

Hear their Stories

Workforce Development in Professional Sports and Hospitality

The tourism industry is the third-largest employer of Buncombe County and a significant driver of the local economy. Explore Asheville teamed up with our local partners to increase access to employment in leisure and hospitality. Partnering with KemperLesnik and the Asheville Championship Basketball Tournament, we launched the inaugural Going Pro in Sports to students of Buncombe County, Haywood County, and Asheville City Schools. Additionally, with significant help from BCTDA Vice Chair Brenda Durden and her Asheville Hotel Group staff, we spearheaded the involvement of tourism partners in a Buncombe County high school career fair, which took place at AB Tech with more than 400 participants.

National Partnerships Illuminate Our Community

Partnerships with distinguished media outlets and professional sports organizations provided a platform to celebrate Buncombe County and Asheville. Explore Asheville hosted Garden & Gun editors, staff, and attendees on tours of local galleries, studios, and creative spaces in addition to the city’s innovative food and beverage scene. The festivities ended with a special Made in the South Awards Dinner, honoring local winners. A partnership with AFAR highlighted Asheville as a destination for ethical travel. Partnering with Monocle casts a national spotlight on our community’s outdoor economy, craft brewing, food innovation, culture, and heritage. These print and online features will conclude with a spring event that brings together local entrepreneurs, authors, artists, architects, and designers to explore cultural, political, and business topics. We are excited to see how these partnerships will benefit our community in the future. The US Open partnership has already yielded a 10 to 1 return on investment with a total of $13.2 million in earned media value.


Discover Mountain-Made Treasures in this Year's Holiday Gift Guide
Featuring more than 60 authentic goods, including unique art, locally-made wellness products, artisanal food, and more. We are proud to share the creative magic produced by our community this season. 
Top Places to See Holiday Lights
Few experiences embody the excitement of the holidays like enjoying a display of bright, twinkling Christmas lights and meticulously-designed decorations. See our top eight recommendations, in both English and Spanish, for where to view these family-friendly light shows. 
Where to Ring in the New Year
2023 is on the horizon, and in Asheville you can ring in the New Year with a number of spirited celebrations planned throughout town.


Save the Date for January 19, 2023 
We are Excited to Host Our First Partner Event of the Year

Join us as we introduce What’s New in 2023! On the 20th anniversary of the TPDF, we will celebrate the collective contributions of our partners within the leisure and hospitality community.

Stay on the lookout for an RSVP coming your way soon!

Buncombe County's Affordable Parking Program
Apply for a Reduced Rate Monthly Parking Pass of $40/month

Buncombe County is now offering people who work in Downtown Asheville the opportunity to apply for one of a limited number of reduced rate monthly parking passes at the 40 Coxe Avenue deck. 150 eligible applicants will be selected at random via a lottery process to participate in the program. 

To be eligible you must: 

  • Work in the Downtown Asheville area (within approximately 1 mile of Pack Square)
  • Earn less than 80% Area Median Income
  • Have a valid drivers license
  • Own a credit card or bank account to link for payment
  • Must be 18 or older

Applications must be received by midnight on Friday, January 13, 2023. 

Apply for the Affordable Parking Program
Warm Welcome to our New Partners 
We are Delighted to Shine a Light on Your Creativity 


The FY22 Annual Report is Now Available Online 

The BCTDA Annual Report is now available for download, providing a quick review of the fiscal year that ended in June 2022. FY22 marks the first full year that Explore Asheville’s departments were guided by our strategic imperatives, aimed at aligning our work with the broader community’s goals.

View the FY22 Annual Report

Check out the TOURISM COMMUNITY UPDATE: Highlights of Buncombe County TDA Meetings

November's meeting welcomed new BCTDA board member Elizabeth Putnam and reviewed the media revenue earned through the Power of Partnerships. Check it out!

Delivering Balanced Recovery & Sustainable Growth | Encouraging Safe & Responsible Travel |
Engaging & Inviting More Diverse Audiences | Promoting & Supporting Asheville's Creative Spirit

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