HVS Global Hospitality Services
Market Intelligence Report: Asheville, North Carolina 1
Market Intelligence Report: Asheville, North Carolina
Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is known for its natural beauty and small town charm. The tranquility of the surrounding mountains, lakes, and rivers is complemented by the brick-and-mortar grandeur of the Biltmore House and authentic Art Deco architecture of buildings Downtown. These and other sights draw millions of tourists to Asheville annually and, stimulated by tourism activity, businesses in the area have grown and diversified over the past twenty years. The statistics on hotel performance show that Asheville’s hospitality industry is not immune to the effects of the U.S. recession, which has meant fewer dollars and fewer travelers since late 2008. The usual seasonal harvest of tourists may be stifled in 2009, but the ground is still fertile in “The Land of the Sky” and the tourism industry should begin to produce again as the economy rebounds over the next several years.
More than two million overnight leisure travelers visit the greater Asheville area each year, accounting for an economic impact of over $1 billion annually for Buncombe County.1 Much of the area’s tourism dollars are spent at the Biltmore Estate and the surrounding Biltmore Village. Still the largest private residence in the United States, the Biltmore House was erected in the late 1800s by George W. Vanderbilt. In the 1930s, the estate’s gates were opened to the public to stimulate visitation to Depression-era Asheville. The Biltmore continues to espouse a spirit of majesty and welcome. The 8,000-acre grounds include a winery; the four-star, four-diamond Inn on Biltmore Estate; numerous restaurants; acres of formal and informal gardens; and a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking and biking trails, horseback riding, Segway tours, and river-floating trips.