Legislation signed into law in May 2020 allowed the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority to appropriate $5 million from the Tourism Product Development Fund to establish a one-time emergency grant program, the Buncombe Tourism Jobs Recovery Fund.

Just weeks later, nearly 400 local businesses that provide a visitor experience received grants from the fund to help them safely and sustainably reopen, providing the support to reinstate or generate as many as 4,787 jobs.

A survey of grantees conducted six months after receiving funding revealed remarkable results in meeting the objective of helping local small businesses safely and sustainably reopen, providing the support to protect jobs for local people.

With 100% of the grantees responding to a survey conducted by Mountain BizWorks, which administered the fund for the BCTDA, 97.5% were still in operation on December 31, with 3,341 jobs retained, recovered or created. A one-year survey will be conducted for a final report in summer 2021.

Original Announcement of Grant Recipients