Asheville Citizen-Times: 13 months after hotel moratorium, officials, others opine Asheville’s new regulations (19 April 2022)

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Some, though, doubt the first part of that equation is being fulfilled given restrictions on how some of that tax money can be spent.

By law, 75% of occupancy taxes paid by hotels must be spent by the TDA on marketing and 25% on its Tourism Product Development Fund, providing grants to enterprises that can result in more visitation for the area. 

That 75%-25% split is the worst deal in the state, Fletcher said, doubting whether the local tourism industry ought to be subsidized at all. 

“Is tourism really an industry that needs economic assistance in terms of the TDA?” he said. “I don’t think so.”

Tourism is a mature industry with the ability to pool money as any other industry for promotion, Fletcher said, adding that he doesn’t think the advertising budget is yielding the same benefits it did in 1983 when the TDA was established. 

That money should be used for public benefits instead, he said.