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September 29, 2021

Greetings on behalf of the Buncombe County TDA

This month Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority hosted its Annual Meeting and its regular monthly meeting. Today we welcomed three new board members and discussed the ongoing trend in increased occupancy among vacation rentals. This continues to be good news for local residents who are earning incremental income from visitors to our community and is resulting in historic occupancy tax collections that contribute to BCTDA's financial strength – and Asheville and Buncombe County's recovery.

Thanks again to the more than 175 business and community leaders who joined us on Sept. 15 at our Annual Meeting and hearty congratulations to Bob Patel, recipient of this year's William A.V. Cecil Tourism Leadership Award, for his contributions to Asheville and Buncombe County for 40 years. Find a link to more highlights of the event in this newsletter.

We are grateful as always for your partnership in helping our community to thrive.

BCTDA Annual Meeting 09.15.21


Continued Growth of Vacation Rental Market Boosts Occupancy Tax Collections
July collections for both vacation rentals and hotels/motels reach historic high

Three of the top five months in occupancy tax collections have occurred in 2021, reaching a historic high in July, with June close behind at second-highest. A breakdown by lodging type reveals what has been evident throughout the pandemic: vacation rentals continue to be a popular choice for visitors, boosting tax collections and providing incremental income to local residents with vacation properties. This seems to demonstrate that guests in our community throughout the summer were not trading off vacation rentals for hotel stays, because vacation rental sales continued to climb while hotel stays were rebounding.


Top 5 Months: Occupancy Tax Collection

Positive trend for lodging partners means more business for other sectors as community recovers

This positive trend for lodging partners translates to more customers for other business sectors like outdoor outfitters and guides, retail and artist shops, restaurants, breweries and more. Although the occupancy tax shoulders 100% of the destination marketing investment for Asheville and Buncombe County, lodging partners garner just over a quarter of the visitor spending at 27%, while other local businesses reap the lion's share of visitor spending rewards at 73%. Asheville’s circular economy ensures these visitor dollars stay in the community longer; for example, local restaurants are dedicated to supporting local farmers and purveyors through buying and serving local products.


Distribution of Visitor Spending

Hotel occupancy slips in August; both hotels and vacation rentals are at 73%

After July 2021 hotel occupancy returned to on-par with the benchmark year of 2019, hotel occupancy for the month of August 2021 slipped to 73%, down 6% from August 2019 levels. Short-term vacation rentals reached 73% this August, up 20% from the benchmark year of 2019, but off four percentage points from 2020.

This is a good example of the kind of balanced recovery we are seeking going forward as part of our strategic imperative to Deliver Balanced Recovery & Sustainable Growth, resulting in opportunities for more in our community to win.


August 2021 Lodging Occupancy

View Destination Performance Metrics
Welcome New TDA Board Members
City appointees join September meeting of Buncombe County TDA; County appointments to be made in October

New City Appointees to TDA Board

Three new members of the Buncombe County TDA attended the September meeting, appointed by Asheville City Council (shown left to right):

  • LARRY CROSBY, General Manager of The Foundry Hotel, representing a lodging property with 100 rooms or less
  • MATTHEW LEHMAN, General Manager of the Grand Bohemian Hotel, representing a lodging property with 101-plus rooms
  • MICHAEL LUSICK, Vice President of Hospitality, FIRC Group, LLC, representing a lodging property with 101-plus rooms

County Commissioners expect to appoint two new members of the Buncombe County TDA before the next board meeting on Oct. 27. Until then, Gary Froeba and John McKibbon, whose terms were completed in August, will continue to serve.

Highlights of the 2021 BCTDA Annual Meeting

We gathered safely to recognize Asheville and Buncombe County's heart, hospitality, fortitude and resilience at the 2021 Annual Meeting on Sept. 15. Our thanks to all attendees and participants in this celebration of our collective contributions to the local community. View portions of the program here. Please note: The recording of Kevin Brown's inspiring keynote is available only through October 6. Use password AVLBCTDA21 for exclusive access.


Find meeting documents and a recording of the September 28 board meeting HERE >>

Wednesday, October 27 | 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. | Via Zoom Webinar
Registration & other details will be posted HERE >>

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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Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority

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