For a decade, Explore Asheville and the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority has presented its annual Superstar Awards to partners who have been actively engaged with the organization throughout the year and supportive of Explore Asheville’s efforts for the health of our local economy.
This year we are super excited to recognize three distinguished leaders in Western North Carolina with these Superstar Awards: Congressman Chuck Edwards, Senator Julie Mayfield, and Senator Warren Daniel.
Long before the pandemic, local hotel leaders, as well as Buncombe County Commissioners, and our local state delegation advocated for a change in occupancy tax allocation, increasing investment in community capital projects and decreasing funding for promoting Asheville and Buncombe County to visitors.
A bi-partisan bill filed June 1, 2022 by Senators Chuck Edwards, Warren Daniel, and Julie Mayfield passed and became law on July 1, changing the occupancy tax split from three-quarters to be invested in tourism promotion and one-quarter for community capital projects, to a split of two-thirds/one-third, increasing investment for community capital projects.
For those who think that might have been an easy feat, occupancy tax had not been moved as a subject matter since 2017, and Buncombe County was one of only three counties whose occupancy tax changes passed the North Carolina General Assembly last session.
Explore Asheville and the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority are grateful for the steadfast leadership of then Senator, now Congressman Chuck Edwards in shepherding the Buncombe County occupancy tax changes through Raleigh. The teamwork demonstrated by filing the initial bill with Senators Daniel and Mayfield, as well as the support of local hotel leaders and the entire local delegation was heartening.
The Explore Asheville and TDA team implemented these changes in its current fiscal year, and we look forward to more positive impacts this additional investment will have in our community for years to come.
Thanks and congratulations to these superstars who were announced at The Year Ahead event on January 19, 2023!