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The BCTDA’s investment in tourism promotion creates a customer base that sustains local businesses year-round. invests in community assets enjoyed by residents, and generates awareness and reputation for Asheville that supports all economic development goals.

Tourism is essential to Asheville’s economic vitality. Learn more about the community benefits of tourism.

“We’re funding whatever applications come through the door, and they’ve been very worthwhile projects,” Stephanie Brown said. “But we know there are a number of projects in development and rather than take them first-come, first serve … we’re going to look at the whole landscape of projects and work in partnership with applicants to enhance the quality of projects and provide a strategic look at how money can be used over a long period of time.”

The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (BCTDA) approved nearly $10 million in funding for six projects that will be used by thousands of residents while also increasing visitor spending in the county. The Authority also announced it will pause the TPDF cycle in 2019 while it pursues a process that will result in a long-range plan that can serve as a blueprint for continued collaboration to address infrastructure and sustainability needs.

“Maintaining the quality of our city for locals is maintaining the quality of our city for visitors, said BCTDA Chair Jim Muth, owner of Beaufort House Inn. “As residents of this community, we understand that it is critical to preserve, protect and grow sustainably for the mutual benefit of residents and visitors alike.”

2018 marks the 35th anniversary of the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority and the first year of operation of Explore Asheville as an independent organization. At its annual meeting BCTDA Chair Jim Muth and Explore Asheville President and CEO Stephanie Brown will provide an overview of this monumental year of change and innovation that has led to record breaking performance.

“Asheville by Design” explores the vision and intentionality that gave shape and character to the Asheville area of today. The program is a partnership that continues a longstanding relationship between Explore Asheville and National Geographic Travel, born out of its appreciation for what Asheville is all about and a continued interest in telling stories that reflect the heart of the destination.

WLOS Persons of the Week, Himanshu Karvir and his wife Swati Patel, have made the drive their annual passion project. They help collect hundreds of backpacks every year. “Just to find out there was such a huge need for supplies like pencils and notebooks was really surprising to me,” Himanshu said. “That’s what drives my wife and I, is we have to help people in Buncombe County. We have to help our neighbors. That’s where it starts.”