In March, the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority’s finance committee faced an enviable dilemma: With actual occupancy tax revenues up 25% over projections, how should the authority adjust its forecasts for the rest of the fiscal year?
Stephanie Brown is president and CEO of the Explore Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau, the arm of the TDA responsible for spending the money generated by the county’s occupancy tax to promote local tourism. She described the finance committee’s conundrum at the May 29 regular meeting of the authority.
Committee members decided to “smooth” the predictions to reflect a 10% increase for March and an 8% increase for each of the following months through the end of June, Brown said. If that best guess comes true, occupancy tax revenues for the year will total $18.8 million — a 9% increase over 2018’s take from hotels and short-term rentals.
Going forward, the TDA estimates revenues for fiscal year 2020 at $19.36 million, a 3% increase over 2019, Brown said.