HVS Global Hospitality Services
Market Intelligence Report: Asheville, North Carolina 2
Historic Biltmore Village, located just outside the gates of the estate, were once home to estate workers and their families. The buildings now house unique shops, restaurants, and other businesses. These locally owned ventures are now neighbored by Williams-Sonoma, Coldwater Creek, Talbots, and other national retailers in a recently constructed retail and office complex.
Downtown Asheville proves a draw for tourists and locals alike and, judging by the limited number of shop and business closures thus far, appears almost wholly unfazed by the recession. The unique mix of Art Deco and Neoclassical architecture has survived decades of growth and change, and the local coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques, art galleries, night clubs, and street musicians contribute to the city’s idyllic charm. Downtown Asheville also hosts popular annual affairs such as Bele Chere, Shindig on the Green, and the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival. Downtown’s historic Pack Square, which had hosted many of these events in the past, is undergoing a $20-million transformation into Pack Square Park. The expanded 6.5-acre site will be a permanent venue for downtown events and a gathering place for locals and tourists throughout the year.
The Tourism Product Development Fund (TPDF), which is funded by taxes on occupancy in Buncombe County, provides financial assistance to major tourism projects, helping drive demand to local hotels. The TPDF has injected more than $9 million into local tourism projects, including the Asheville Area Wayfinding Program, the Buncombe County Civil War Trails, and the Asheville Art Museum.
Lodging revenues in Buncombe County increased in every year from 1996 through 2007. The market experienced a modest downturn in 2008, as decreases in occupancy outpaced average rate growth, resulting in a 3.5% decline in total room sales.