As a reminder, TMIP is a yearlong community engagement process to prioritize future investments of the Tourism Product Development Fund (TPDF), a program that for 18 years has granted a portion of occupancy tax revenue to projects that benefit the local community. Since the establishment of TPDF, 39 community projects have been awarded a total of $44 million, to include parks, greenways, sports facilities, museums, theaters, historic sites and more. These projects were selected via a rigorous application-based process.
The goal of TMIP is to become more proactive and strategic in how the TPDF revenue is invested in future years, within state legislative mandates, in a way that will allow Buncombe County to manage the challenges and maximize the benefits of tourism.
Update on the TMIP Process
TMIP is bringing together public entities, tourism officials and the community along with data resources to develop a framework to guide the long-term investment of the TPDF. There are four phases in this collaborative community engagement process.
Phase 1 – Assessment – In Progress
The TMIP project team held three Public Input Workshops on August 15 – 16. More than 130 people attended and provided useful feedback to inform the planning process. (If you were one of those individuals, thank you for your participation!)
A Community Sentiment Survey was made available online August 1 – 23, with more than 2,000 responses (again, thank you if you completed a survey). In addition, there was a Visitor Sentiment Survey, which received more than 1,300 responses.
The project team is now working on a report of data analysis, feedback from the public meetings and surveys, and best practices to complete a Phase 1 Assessment report. This report, which will be released in October, will describe conditions in Buncombe County related to tourism and community needs. The Phase 1 research sets a baseline of information for Phase 2.
A public forum will be held on October 23 to present these findings to the community. Learn more and register here.
Phase 2 – Discovery – Beginning
Building upon Phase 1, the project team will assess future development needs and opportunities by reviewing projects for consideration for TPDF grants. The team has begun to meet with City, County, and other area organizational staff and stakeholders to understand their projects and plans that address community needs and may align with the requirements of the TPDF.
Phase 3 – Collaboration
In Phase 3, the project team will explore the range of projects reviewed in Phase 2 and assess them based on key findings learned in Phase 1. They will meet with the TMIP Steering Committee and the Community Leadership Council to receive guidance on prioritizing projects for further consideration. Using image boards, narrative descriptions, site plans and renderings, refined concepts for these projects will be reviewed with stakeholder groups.
Phase 4 – Prioritization
Once the product concepts are refined and costs more accurately estimated, the project team will consult with the Steering Committee to develop priorities for implementation. Phasing considerations generally include market impact, funding, planning time, construction disruption, tourism growth strategies, and revenue generation.
Together with the TPDF Committee, the project team will develop a preliminary business plan in the form of an operating financial model and a management/operating approach that sets priorities for the TPDF. This project prioritization and financial modeling will serve as a roadmap for future management of TPDF grants and funding activities.
Thank you again for your interest in this important project! Please feel free to contact us at any time. We hope to see you at our public forum in October.