Tourism Management & Investment Plan to Develop Community Assets (TMIP)
The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (BCTDA) approved funding for a yearlong community engagement process to better manage tourism and plan investments for the next decade, while maintaining the character and integrity of the region.
The Buncombe County Tourism Management & Investment Plan to Develop Community Assets (TMIP) is a collaborative process to bring public entities, tourism officials and the community together with data resources to develop a framework to guide the long-term investment of BCTDA’s Tourism Product Development Fund (TPDF). The effort is being funded entirely by occupancy tax revenue, through the TPDF, paid for by overnight visitors to Buncombe County.
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See meetings schedule here.
An Interview with Stephanie Brown, Explore Asheville’s President & CEO
What is the Buncombe County Tourism Management & Investment Plan to Develop Community Assets (TMIP)?
This collaborative community initiative is designed to provide thoughtful, data-based recommendations to guide future investment through the BCTDA’s Tourism Product Development Fund (TPDF).
Cornerstones of the planning process include significant community input and collaboration with public entities to find alignment between the TPDF’s legislatively defined purpose, the priorities of residents and opportunities to manage tourism in a manner that sustains and enhances quality of life in Buncombe County.
It is anticipated that the Plan will be a 10-year strategic guide for the community and the tourism sector.
The initiative will begin in 2019 and conclude in early 2020.
What are the objectives of the Plan?
This effort is intended to build upon 18 years of rigorous application-based process have led to successful TPDF investment in community assets with a goal of becoming more proactive and strategic in how the TPDF is used in future years.
Specifically, the objectives of the Plan are to:
- Work collaboratively with the community to develop a long-term strategic investment plan for public projects through the TPDF.
- Coalesce municipal and other partners around the strategic plan that outlines a long-range vision for implementing capital projects.
- Preserve and protect community character and the destination experience.
- Enhance Buncombe County through new community projects (within the scope of the TPDF fund) that contribute to quality of place for residents, workers and and visitors.
- Continue efforts already in place to attract overnight visitors through the development and enhancement of destination assets.
- Explore opportunities for financing and developing longer-term investments of significant impact.
- Support high quality design to enhance and preserve with the community in mind.
- Sustain the economic vitality of tourism in Buncombe County that is critical to the growth and financial health of local business and 27,000 jobs in the community.
What are the opportunities for Buncombe County residents to contribute to the process?
A public forum will take place during spring 2019. Additionally, an online survey will be distributed and made available to county residents in the early phases of the project to help inform the process.
A Community Leadership Council will also be established to represent a wide range of organizations and areas of expertise.
What geographic area will this project study?
While Asheville is the center of much of the county’s tourism activity, the BCTDA is legislatively charged with promoting the entire county as a destination and supporting the development of new drivers of overnight visitation throughout.
Throughout its history, TPDF funds have been allocated to capital projects located in several parts of Buncombe County, and this study will review potential capital projects across the county. Funding decisions will be based upon the criteria to produce the overall most beneficial results.
Will any local resident taxpayer dollars be used for this study?
No. This study is being funded entirely by the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (BCTDA), using occupancy tax revenue generated by all overnight lodging guests in Buncombe County. The allocated funding comes from the BCTDA’s Tourism Product Development Fund budget.
Who will supervise the project?
This project will be overseen by a steering committee consisting of past TPDF committee and BCTDA board members. This group of community residents will be selected based upon their expertise in the tourism sector and their experience with TPDF policies and processes.
PGAV, a consulting firm selected by the BCTDA, will lead the project and provide outside technical expertise.
What is PGAV?
PGAV knowledge of public engagement, urban planning, and development finance helps solve problems for cities across the country, and the firm’s tourism and destination expertise will be a significant asset for this project. The firm has worked on projects throughout the U.S. as well as in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.
PGAV’s experience includes many types of projects, such as cities, neighborhoods, theme parks, zoos, aquariums, and museums. PGAV has a diverse workforce of 125 creatives and professionals. More about PGAV can be found at its website: http://www.pgav.com/.
What role will the Explore Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) have in the project?
Explore Asheville carries out the work plan of the BCTDA to provide destination sales and marketing as well as certain management services. Explore Asheville will help manage the project on behalf of the BCTDA and be the primary point of contact for PGAV.
What other organizations will be involved in the project?
The steering committee, community leadership council, PGAV, and Explore Asheville will work closely with staff at the City of Asheville, Buncombe County Government, and other public entities in the county. While the BCTDA is the lead entity on the project, the process is intended to be highly collaborative with these organizations and members of the community.
What happens at the conclusion of the project?
PGAV will present the findings of the study to help community leaders understand potential projects and develop phasing and prioritization.
A final plan will be sent to the TPDF committee for its review and approval before being sent to the BCTDA for final approval.
Will the criteria for the evaluation of projects funded by the TPDF change as a result of this study?
The criteria, previously approved by the BCTDA and aligned with the legislation that created the TPDF, will continue to guide investment decisions.
- Ratio of Room Nights Generated to Funding Requested
- Generator of New or Incremental Room Nights
- Association with an Identified Need Period
- Size of Market to be Served
- Scope of Impact Upon Lodging Market
- Ability to Serve as a Contributing Asset
- Strength of the Sales and Marketing Plan
- Timeliness of the Project
- Uniqueness and Innovation of the Project
- Financial Stability of the Requesting Organization
- Strength of Business Planning
- 1-to-1 Funding Match Exceeded
- Strength of Brand Alignment
Will the project affect the other uses of occupancy tax revenue?
No. By law, expenditures on tourism-related capital projects are limited to the 1.5 percent occupancy tax used to fund the TPDF. The other 4.5 percent must be invested in sales and marketing to promote Buncombe County as an overnight destination and support the thousands of small businesses dependent upon tourism.