August 31, 2016 — The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (BCTDA) took steps today toward establishing the Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau as a new, independent organization. It is anticipated that the process will be finalized by June 30, 2017.

The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce has been a stalwart advocate of tourism and served at the forefront of efforts to create the Blue Ridge Parkway, promote the authentic culture of the region and shine a spotlight on the handmade craft industry. This leadership helped shape the Asheville area tourism experience and greatly contributed to the quality of life in the region.

The creation of BCTDA in 1983, as part of the hotel occupancy tax legislation, led to a partnership with the Chamber that allowed Asheville area to better market itself against a competitive set of destinations vying for travelers.

Over time, BCTDA assumed all of the expenses of the CVB along with the responsibility of guiding the strategic marketing, sales and tourism management efforts of the destination. In 2015, it adopted a strategic plan that included a process for evaluating its financial reporting, budget management systems and best practices in organizational structure.

The Asheville CVB is the only North Carolina tourism promotion organization of its size within a Chamber structure.  Although once a common model, very few CVBs currently operate within a chamber structure nationwide.  This step toward an independent CVB is consistent with best practices in tourism promotion, and ensures that BCTDA retains a high level of public accountability and continues to be forward-thinking and poised for opportunities in a competitive, fast-paced marketplace.

As its collaborative partner, BCTDA appreciates the longstanding stewardship the Chamber has provided through its administration of the tourism contract and applauds its leadership in generating economic prosperity for the community.

While the specifics of the transition will be worked out during the coming months, it’s expected that the CVB will continue to pay rent and remain housed in the Chamber building. Both organizations will continue to work closely to further the vitality of Buncombe County.