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BE4: Ensure the region remains a premier destination for recreation and tourism.


For generations, visitors have traveled to the mountains of Western North Carolina to hike in the state parks and national forests, raft and fish down the waterways, and visit the historic and cultural sites. From the Biltmore Estate to the Flat Rock Playhouse, the GroWNC region offers a rich variety of distinct outdoor experiences for visitors to enjoy.

Tourism is one of the GroWNC region’s largest industries. According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, domestic visitors traveling to the five-county region spent a record $1.2 billion in 2011, supporting more than 13,000 jobs. The tourism industry has been a key contributor to economic recovery in the GroWNC region. The Biltmore Estate alone drew over 1,101,413 visitors in 2011, making it the most visited tourist attraction in the state.

In addition to tourism and travel, the GroWNC region continues to attract recreation-based businesses, such as sporting goods manufacturers. This segment of the economy will continue to grow as more businesses look to relocate and expand in a place that reinforces the brand and lifestyle image of their products. Promoting and supporting the tourism and recreation industries in the region is critical to overall economic health.


BE4.1: Create an alliance of recreation-based businesses. Read more »
BE4.2: Track and quantify the economic impacts of recreational activities through a regional study to establish the economic impact of the industry in the region. Read more »
BE4.3: Create a regional activity passport to increase coordination among and attendance to existing tourist destinations. Read more »
BE4.4: Collect visitorship data from all regional tourist destinations. Share information with elected officials. Read more »
BE4.5: Develop programs and incentives for dedicating a portion of the funds generated through eco-tourism for conservation and sustainable management of the area’s natural resources. Read more »