June 27, 2024

Following the public hearing at yesterday’s Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (BCTDA) meeting, the Board of Directors approved the FY25 $27.3 million operating budget. 

Other takeaways from the June board meeting include:

Invitations will go out soon for Explore Asheville's annual Summer Social, July 29, at Burial's recently opened VISUALS rooftop bar. 

The second annual Travel & Hospitality Night at McCormick Field will take place Aug. 28. This industry appreciation event is made possible as part of the tourism development authority's $23 million investment in the renovation of McCormick Field. 

Explore Asheville is hiring! Read on to learn about the new Director of Sports, Film, and Entertainment, a position that will be responsible for taking on our existing sports groups and attracting new events as part of the business development team.

Brenda Durden Chair
Vic Isley signature
May Lodging Demand Highest on Record for the Month
Total Roomnight Demand Remains on Par with FY23

May hotel occupancy reached 72%, up four points from 2023 yet still down five points from 2019. May vacation rental occupancy landed at 56%, up four points from 2023 and three points from 2019.

May hotel lodging demand was its highest on record in terms of total rooms sold, growing 13% from 2019 to 2024. Vacation rental demand grew 70% over the same period.

View the Latest Destination Dashboard
BCTDA Board of Directors Approve FY25 Budget
$27.3M Operating Budget, $15.3M Anticipated for Community Capital Projects

At the June BCTDA Board of Directors meeting, the FY25 budget was approved unanimously. The $34.3 million budget includes a $27.3 million operating budget, down $300,000 from FY24.

More than $15 million is anticipated to be available for destination project investment through the FY25 Tourism Product Development Fund (TPDF) and Legacy Investment from Tourism (LIFT) Fund cycles, compared to the $13.8 million allocated for destination media investment. 

View the FY25 BCTDA Budget Ordinance
BCTDA Board Officers Reappointed for FY25 
Buncombe County Commission and Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce Appointments Underway  

Yesterday, the Board of Directors reappointed HP Patel, president & CEO of BCA Hotels LLC, as the BCTDA treasurer for the nonprofit. HP Patel, Matthew Lehman, general manager of the Grand Bohemian Asheville, and Michael Lusick, vice president of hospitality at FIRC Group, Inc. were all reappointed to serve the BCTDA for their second three-year term. Brenda Durden, chief operating officer for Asheville Hotel Group, and Matthew Lehman will fulfill the second year of their two-year term as chair and vice chair respectively.  

The BCTDA board will welcome two new members in FY25. Buncombe County Commissioners will appoint a hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast owner or operator with 100 or fewer rental units to replace Scott Patel who is stepping off the board after fulfilling one term. To replace Kathleen Mosher who is finishing her second term, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce will appoint an individual actively involved in the tourism industry who has promoted tourism as an executive from a ticketed attraction for terms starting September 2024.

Meet the BCTDA Board of Directors
Asheville Regional Airport Expansion Update
Air Service Overview and AVL Forward Milestone Report

Asheville Regional Airport Chief Administrative Officer Tina Kinsey presented plans for its new terminal. The airport has seen remarkable growth, with eight record years in the past decade and significant capacity percentage growth compared to competing airports. Airlines continue to invest in and add capacity to our market, which translates to new routes, more frequency, and larger planes with more seats. Even as the terminal is under construction, current forecasts indicate another record-breaking year in 2024. The expansion to accommodate growth and improve services began last August and is divided into two phases:

Phase I (Targeted Completion: Summer 2025)

  • New north concourse
  • Northern expansion of the ticket lobby
  • Temporary TSA checkpoint
  • South baggage claim expansion

Phase II (Targeted Completion: 2027)

  • New south concourse
  • Grand lobby
  • Permanent TSA checkpoint
  • Second-level concessions plaza
  • Southern expansion of ticket lobby
  • Northern expansion of baggage claim

In the near term, travelers can look forward to a fourth TSA lane opening mid-August. This September, Explore Asheville and AVL Regional Airport secured a must-attend aviation conference, The Airport Roundtable Series. Fifty attendees and five airlines have confirmed their attendance. The conference is expected to generate a potential $62,500 direct spending for the local economy.

Learn More About AVL Forward
Second Annual Travel & Hospitality Night at McCormick Field
Deeply Discounted Tickets Available for Industry Partners

Explore Asheville, the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority, and the Asheville Tourists are serving up a special ticket offer to travel and hospitality industry professionals in Asheville and Buncombe County (along with their family and friends) for the Asheville Tourists baseball game against the Hickory Crawdads at McCormick Field August 28 (8/28).

Discounted tickets are available online with the code: 828NIGHT. Partners can purchase up to 10 tickets through the link below. Those who would like to purchase more than 10 tickets can call 828-258-0428 ext. 205.

Travel & Hospitality Night is made possible through a partnership with the baseball club as part of the McCormick Field Major Works Tourism Development Product Fund (TPDF) investment. Last year, the Tourism Development Authority committed to invest nearly $23 million over 15 years to renovations of the City-owned facility of McCormick Field to a year-round multi-purpose facility.

Purchase Your Travel & Hospitality Night Tickets
Now Hiring Director of Sports, Film, & Entertainment
Business Development Team Expands to Include New Position

In this newly created role for Explore Asheville, the Director of Sports, Film, & Entertainment will be responsible for the strategic leadership to attract and retain profitable sports, film, and entertainment-related business opportunities for Asheville and Buncombe County. The successful candidate will develop and manage an annual budget for sports, film, and entertainment in concert with the vice president of business development and collaborate with the marketing and public relations team.

This position will take over sports groups and events that Senior Sales Manager Tina Porter has booked over the years so that she can focus on securing more groups and events in other vertical markets, including the outdoor industries, health, and wellness.

Learn More about the Role


Find documents from the June 26 board meeting HERE >>

Wednesday, July 31 | 9–11 a.m.
Explore Asheville | 27 College Place | Asheville
Details to be posted HERE >>

Delivering Balanced & Sustainable Growth | Encouraging Safe & Responsible Travel |
Engaging & Inviting More Diverse Audiences | Promoting & Supporting 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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