The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority, also known as Explore Asheville, administers a Tourism Product Development Fund that has awarded $43 million to community projects that attract visitors and benefit residents. They embarked upon a community-driven planning process to guide future investments and to manage the impacts of tourism.
Explore Asheville engaged SMARInsights to conduct a Resident Sentiment Survey as a key component of its Tourism Management and Investment Plan (TMIP) as a partner to the lead consultant PGAV. The study collected detailed information about the attitudes of local residents toward tourism, its impact on the community, and the efforts to promote and develop the tourism industry in the area.
SMARInsights designed the survey to provide a representative sample and to invite additional community participation with dedicated survey links. SMARInsights’ national Resident Sentiment Survey provided additional insights for comparison.
With this type of topic there are passionate advocates with diverse ideas of what should happen in the community – and they tend to be quite vocal. What is harder to assess is the attitudes, concerns and desires of residents overall. This type of research project provides in-depth information about the attitudes of residents and explores reasons for the various attitudes to provide insights for important decisions.
Denise Miller, Executive Vice President, presented the results at the Tourism Management Forum. Download the report at right.