TPDF Timeline, Policies, Requirements & Criteria

Key Dates for the 2024 Tourism Product Development Fund Grant Cycle


TPDF Phase I Application Opens April 15, 2024
Informational Session for Prospective Applicants April 17, 2024, 3:30PM – 5:00PM ET
Phase I Application Closes May 15, 2024, 5:00PM ET
TPDF Committee Meeting – Phase I Review Meeting Wednesday, June 5, 11am (Explore Asheville’s Office – 27 College Pl)
Phase I Applicants Notified (Invite to Phase II) June 12, 2024
Phase II Application Closes August 16, 2024, 5:00PM ET
Phase II Project Presentations Week of September 2, 2024
Phase II Project Site Visits by TPDF Committee Week of September 15, 2024
TPDF Committee Meeting – Final Vote Week of September 30, 2024
Committee Funding Recommendations presented to BCTDA October 30, 2024



Applicant Eligibility

  • Applicant must be a federally recognized non-profit organization or government entity. *
  • If the applicant is a non-profit organization, the organization must have been in operation for at least 2 years at the time of application

Project Eligibility

  • Project must be principally located in Buncombe County.*
  • Project must be a major tourism capital project that furthers economic development of Buncombe County.*
  • Project must demonstrate ability to increase patronage of lodging facilities in Buncombe County by attracting tourists, business travelers, or both.*
  • Project must not solely benefit a single lodging owner, lodging property, or be situated on a lodging property.
  • At time of application, applicant must have legal control of the property through recorded deed or long-term lease agreement. If property is owned by a municipal partner, such as the City or County, a non-profit organization may provide a letter of support or other agreement with the municipal partner.
  • Applicant must show how a minimum of a 1-to-1 funding match to the requested grant amount (excluding in-kind goods and services) will be achieved.


Applicants must provide the following required documents as attachments to their application:

  • Project Information:
    • Proof of legal control of the property, through recorded deed or long-term lease agreement. (See FAQs for more information)
    • Project Budget
    • Room Night Calculator
    • Project Marketing Plan
    • Drawings, photos, or renderings related to project, if available
    • Project feasibility study, if available
  • Financial Information:
    • Statement of Activities or Income Statement showing current year-to-date actual revenues and expenses compared to year-to-date budget and a year-end projection.
    • Prior year Statement of Financial Activity showing previous year’s total actual revenues and expenses compared to approved fiscal year budget.
    • Statement of Financial Position or Balance Sheet showing current position and beginning year position.
    • Financial Schedule or Project Pro Forma for first 3 years of operation
  • Organizational Information:
    • Proof of non-profit organization status through a filed IRS Form 990
    • List of Board of Directors and their affiliations
    • List of key staff of organization and project, including a description of their role and responsibilities with the project
  • Supplemental Information:
    • Letters of recommendation (up to 3) regarding your organization’s ability to lead this project to success.
    • Additional supporting documentation


  • Funding must be for capital investments only (“brick and mortar” projects – design not included).
  • Operational expenses will not be considered for funding.
  • Design fees already expended will be considered as counting towards the 1-to-1 funding match.


  • The TPDF Committee may utilize a waiver of any non-legislatively mandated eligibility criteria to advance a project if it represents a significant impact upon lodging demand and Buncombe County economic sustainability. All projects must meet all eligibility criteria and requirements stated in legislation.
  • Projects which either directly increase overnight lodging stays by themselves or support a larger initiative that will increase room nights will be evaluated equally.
  • TPDF funds cannot be the first funds committed to a project.
  • BCTDA reserves the right to cancel the grant application cycle at any time and for any reason.
  • BCTDA reserves the right to award or deny grant funding to any project for any reason consistent with the intent of the legislation.
  • Recognizing that its resources are limited, BCTDA may grant funding that is less than that requested by the applicant.
  • BCTDA will not make payment directly to any vendor or individual. Payment will only be made to the applicant organization as reimbursement.
  • If the grantee is unable to fund and/or complete the project, BCTDA may revoke all or part of the grant. The grantee may be forced to return some or all funding plus interest if the recipient is found to have used the funding inappropriately, if the project was not completed, or if the project scope or design was changed without approval of BCTDA.
  • All applications are subject to the requirements regarding “public records” found in Chapter 132 of the North Carolina General Statutes. Submitted applications will be disclosed upon request.
  • The applicant assumes the burden of all their expenses associated with this application.


Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  1. Viability of Project and Organization
    • Financial Stability of the Requesting Organization: Each applicant organization will be evaluated for financial sustainability, and their perceived ability to raise additional funds as needed to bring the project to completion.
    • Strength of Business Planning: If applicable, the proposed business plan for the project will be evaluated on its accuracy, completeness, and likelihood to support a successful and sustainable operation once the project has opened.
    • Strength of Sales and Marketing Plan/Investment: If applicable, sales and marketing plans for projects will be evaluated upon the likelihood they will succeed in drawing visitation to the destination.
    • Timeliness of the Project: Projects which are “shovel ready” may rate more highly than those which are still two or more years from beginning construction.
    • 1-to-1 Funding Match Exceeded: While it is a requirement for applying organizations to have secured a funding match equal to the amount for which they are applying from the TPDF, projects that exceed the 1-to-1 requirement may receive particular consideration.
  2. Destination Differentiator
    • Strength of Brand Alignment: Projects will be evaluated on whether they are consistent with the Asheville destination brand and provide additional support for the brand promise.
    • Uniqueness and Innovation of Project: Attractions and activities which are new to the region or not available to visitors living in key feeder markets for the destination may be valued more highly than those which duplicate offerings already available to visitors.
    • Ability to Promote and Support the Local Creative Sector: Projects which promote and support the community’s creators and makers, and which enhance the destination will receive greater consideration.
  3. Project Impact
    • Ratio of Overnight Lodging Generated to Funding Requested: The amount of TPDF funding requested will be analyzed versus the potential return of new overnight lodging demand in Buncombe County to be generated by the project.
    • Generator of New and Incremental Room Nights: The room night impact of a proposed project will be assessed on whether the project is drawing new visitors to the area, or simply pulling from existing visitors in Buncombe County while not increasing the number of new lodging room nights.
    • Scope of Market to be Served: Projects that target audiences capable of filling area lodging are valued, but projects that draw new and untapped niche markets to Buncombe County may also be worthy of consideration.
    • Scope of Impact Upon Lodging: The impact of a project upon Buncombe County lodging will be considered not only in terms of demand generated, but also in terms of the geographic impact. Projects capable of generating lodging demand in more than one area of the county may rate more favorably.
    • Ability to Serve as a Contributing Asset: Projects which support an important generator of destination room nights, or which could stimulate additional activity, but which may not generate significant room nights by themselves will be considered. Applicants should demonstrate the potential for additional community benefit if their project is built.
    • Project as a True Motivator of Visits: Projects will be evaluated based upon their ability to motivate new room nights, proven through sound analysis and data.
  4. Alignment with BCTDA’s Strategic Imperatives
    • Deliver Balanced Recovery and Sustainable Growth: Projects will be evaluated based upon whether they lead to balanced and sustainable growth through distribution of visitors geographically across the county or seasonally throughout the year or days of the week.
    • Encourage Safe and Responsible Travel: Projects which encourage care and respect for natural, cultural, and human resources, or support the sustainability of outdoor recreation, will be given greater consideration.
    • Supports Engagement with and Appeal to More Diverse Audiences: The committee will assess the ability of a project to diversify audiences and support of place making, community connections, and business opportunities throughout the county.