The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority will kickstart its 2015 cycle of grants to tourism projects later this year. This process is growing in importance as the number of tourists to the Asheville area increases (note last year’s record-high numbers) and as the pot of available money grows (note the number of new hotels going up around Asheville.)
Last year, the TDA handed out five grants totaling $4,825,000, to five community projects.
Press release follows.
The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (BCTDA) will kick off its 2015 Tourism Product Development Fund (TPDF) grant cycle with an information session for interested applicants on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce Board Room at 36 Montford Avenue. Tourism product funding is generated by a one percent occupancy tax on paid lodging in Buncombe County. Proceeds are earmarked for capital projects that demonstrate a significant increase in new and incremental lodging stays.
Applications are due on Wednesday, June 3, 2015; and grants will be announced Wednesday, October 28, 2015. The complete timeline can be found at: http://www.AshevilleCVB.com/TPDF2015. Application materials will be available for download on Wednesday, March 4, 2015.
As guided by legislation, tourism projects must demonstrate that they can generate substantial new and incremental room nights, and, therefore, increase the economic impact on the community, to be considered for a grant, loan guarantee or debt service.
Since the fund’s inception in 2001, there have been seven grant cycles, awarding a total of $19.75 million to 21 projects. The enabling legislation mandates that a TPDF Committee reviews all applications and makes funding recommendations to the BCTDA for final approval. The TPDF committee thoroughly reviews the applications, conducts interviews during project presentations, and makes site visits as needed.
Visitors who stay in paid lodging in Buncombe County pay a 4 percent occupancy tax in addition to the 7 percent sales tax for a total tax of 11 percent on paid accommodations in Buncombe County. Based on a 2012 study, visitors to the community spend $1.5 billion, contributed $250 million in tax revenues and generated $2.3 billion in total economic impact. The tourism sector supports 23,000 jobs in Buncombe County.