Long before the pandemic, local hotel leaders as well as Buncombe County Commissioners and our local delegation advocated for a change in the allocation of the occupancy tax, increasing funding for investment in community capital projects and decreasing funding for promoting Asheville and Buncombe County to visitors. Effective July 1, 2022 those changes became law, changing the occupancy tax split from three-quarters to be used for tourism promotion and one-quarter for community capital projects, to a split of two-thirds/one-third, increasing funding for community capital projects. It also created the new Legacy Investment from Tourism (LIFT) Fund.
The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority’s Legacy Investment from Tourism (LIFT) Fund provides financial investment through grants, loan guarantees, or pledges of debt service to tourism-related capital projects that will increase patronage of lodging facilities and benefit the community at large in Buncombe County.
The LIFT Fund can be used to support the following types of tourism-related capital projects:
- Construction of a new location or relocation
- Expansion of an existing location
- Restoration or rehabilitation of an existing location
- Maintenance of a tourism-related capital project
- Design of a tourism-related capital project
- Project management of a tourism-related capital project
- Enhancement of natural resources
- Expansion of necessary infrastructure
For a project to be considered for funding, it must successfully complete a 2-phase application process. All applications will be reviewed by the LIFT Committee, and the Committee will then make funding recommendations to the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (BCTDA). Nonprofit organizations and government entities are eligible to apply. Applications for the 2023 Grant Cycle will open in October 2023.
Tentative Dates for the 2023/2024 Legacy Investment from Tourism (LIFT) Fund Grant Cycle
|October 2023||Program Guide Released & Timeline Released|
|October 2023||Phase I Application Opens|
|November 2023||Phase I Application Closes|
|December 2023||Phase I Applicants Notified (Invite to Phase II)|
|February 2024||Phase II Application Closes|
|March 2024||Phase II Project Presentations|
|April 2024||Phase II Project Site Visits by LIFT Committee|
|April 2024||Committee Funding Recommendations presented to BCTDA|
Legacy Investment from Tourism (LIFT) Fund Committee Members
The Buncombe County TDA’s Legacy Investment From Tourism (LIFT) Fund Committee makes investment recommendations to the BCTDA to fund tourism-related capital projects that will increase patronage at lodging facilities in Buncombe County by attracting tourists, business travelers, or both, and benefit the community at large in Buncombe County.
TPDF Committee members are appointed by the Buncombe County TDA. A majority of the members of the committee must be owners or operators of hotels, motels or other taxable lodging accommodations. The remainder of the committee shall be comprised of representatives with tourism, legal, financial, economic development, architecture, or engineering expertise. Committee members serve a term that consists of three funding cycles spanning a minimum of three years.