The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority, through the Tourism Product Development Fund (TPDF), has awarded more than $44 million to 39 community tourism projects since 2001.

Photo: Former Explore Asheville President & CEO Stephanie Brown at a TPDF check presentation for the US Cellular Center with then-Asheville City Councilwoman Julie Mayfield during a Steep Canyon Rangers concert. The City of Asheville’s US Cellular Center (now known as Harrah’s Cherokee Center-Asheville) has received a total of $5,675,000 in TPDF funding through a series of grants in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2016.

In October 2018, the BCTDA announced it would pause the TPDF cycle in 2019 while it pursued a process to result in a long-range plan that would serve as a blueprint for continued collaboration to address infrastructure and sustainability needs.

In February 2019, the BCTDA approved funding for the Tourism Management & Investment Plan to Develop Community Assets (TMIP), a yearlong community engagement process to better manage tourism and plan investments for the next several years, while maintaining the character and integrity of the region.

Learn More about the Fund

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TPDF Projects & Award Announcements

Special Note!


Legislation was signed into law on May 4, 2020, by Gov. Roy Cooper that allowed the Buncombe County TDA to appropriate $5 million from unspent funds currently remaining in the Tourism Product Development Fund – that is, funds that have been collected, but not awarded – to establish the Buncombe County Tourism Jobs Recovery Fund.

Buncombe County businesses and nonprofit organizations that provide a direct visitor experience were eligible to apply for emergency grants to help with restarting their businesses as recovery from the economic impacts of the pandemic begin. A total of 394 local small businesses and nonprofits were awarded grants, of $2,000 – $5,000 for micro-grants, and as much as $30,000 for full grants (up to $50,000 total for companies with multiple Buncombe County locations), supporting 4,787 jobs. The grantees were publicly announced on June 24, 2020, with the full $5 million disbursed by June 30. Read more here. 

Funding for Tourism Product Development grants that were awarded prior to the pandemic will continue to be held in an escrow account dedicated to that project. Funds collected moving forward will be available to fund future TPDF grants.