The Transylvania Times -

TDA: Total Solar Eclipse Was A Great Success


November 6, 2017

The Aug. 21 total solar eclipse was a great success, drawing visitors, scientists and attention to the county, according to a new release from the Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority (TDA).

“We were very pleased with both the turnout and the media coverage we received for the eclipse,” said Lori Roberts, the TDA board chairwoman.

Transylvania County was one of the few counties in North Carolina that was in the “zone of totality” for the eclipse.

This narrow path, about 90 miles wide, was the only location where viewers could experience a 100 percent eclipse.

According to the TDA, it was at the forefront of the local effort to inform the community about the eclipse and promote the many eclipse events happening across the county, including Gorges State Park, Brevard College, Brevard Music Center, downtown Brevard and Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI), to name a few.

This included collaborative efforts between Transylvania County government, TDA and PARI to address public and traffic safety, community education, eye safety and other eclipse-related topics.

“We realized early on that the eclipse would be a great opportunity to showcase our area,” said Clark Lovelace, the TDA’s executive director. “We worked with a number of local partners to promote their events on our website, our e-mail newsletter, the popular Get Out Guide and other key communications outlets.”

The TDA also sent out news releases and worked with local and regional media to promote the event.

More than 100 local, regional and national pre- and post-eclipse stories were written about local eclipse events and more than 80 credentialed journalists, writers and videographers attended eclipse-viewing events, many of them at PARI.

Media outlets included CNN, US News & World Report, USA Today, Country Living, Southern Living, Charlotte Observer, Raleigh News & Observer, WUNC Radio, Our State and the Asheville Citizen-Times.

During the eclipse weekend, the TDA also hosted a select number of writers and provided them with familiarization tours of the county.

Stories by the multiple newspaper, magazine, radio and broadcast outlets were read, viewed and heard by millions of people. The value of the resulting editorial coverage has been estimated at more than $500,000, according to the TDA.

“We are a small tourism development authority with a modest budget,” Roberts said. “But I believe one of our greatest strengths is how our organization can invest a small amount of money and support it with a strong commitment of time, effort and strategic thinking. The result is that we were able to leverage our limited resources into something truly significant and meaningful for our entire community.”

Local businesses benefited from the influx of visitors, according to the TDA. Occupancy tax revenue in August was up 14.96 percent from the previous year.

The August increase in occupancy tax revenue followed a record-breaking year for the TDA.

In fiscal year 2016/17, occupancy tax revenue increased 12.9 percent over the previous year, with accommodations revenue reaching $14,109,560.

“We have been very pleased with the growth of tourism in Transylvania County and believe it’s an important contributor to the health of our local economy,” said Lovelace.


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