The Transylvania Times -

Strategic Plan Will Guide County Tourism Efforts-Transylvania County, NC


June 13, 2019

On June 4, Transylvania County Tourism (TCT) hosted tourism partners and area stakeholders at a community presentation of TCT’s new strategic plan that will guide work for countywide tourism from 2020 to 2024.

In October 2018, the plan was developed by Chris Cavanaugh, a destination consultant with Magellan Strategy Group, with input from a broad cross section of local community stakeholders, according to a press release.

The plan is intended to serve as a comprehensive guide for all of Transylvania County and to influence how it is marketed, preserved and enhanced as a destination for the benefit of its residents and visitors alike.

According to TCT Board Chair Grant Bullard, the strategic planning initiative was an important next step in the continued growth of the local tourism economy.

“Tourism in Transylvania is going great,” he said. “We are not doing this because anything is broken, which is often the case with strategic planning. We’re doing this because we wanted to look further out and create an action plan that builds on our current strengths and gets us to a vision for future tourism based on our desires, capabilities, and tourism industry trends and opportunities.”

In a thoughtfully presented situational analysis, according to the release, Cavanaugh presented 11 key area tourism insights.

These elements present significant opportunities for focused work and community engagement in continued development of the tourism economy, with a strong commitment to protection and sustainability of the area’s treasured natural resources.

“The county’s location as a ‘gateway community’ for major outdoor recreational activities and attractions, including Pisgah National Forest, Blue Ridge Parkway, Gorges State Park and DuPont State Recreational Forest, presents both challenges and opportunities,” Cavanaugh said.

A partial list of other key elements includes focusing on the French Broad River as an underutilized asset, preserving the area’s “small town appeal,” and increasing value from seasonal and day-tripper markets.

Taking cues from multiple community work sessions and key local interviews, the new plan calls for a program of work that will activate, collaborate, and advocate for tourism and community. Through a series of destination strategies and related action steps, the plan aims to affect the growth of the visitor economy; to engage local partners to positively influence the destination experience; and to advocate in the best interests of the local tourism economy.

The strategic goal of the new TCT strategic plan is to “grow the visitor economy by promoting Transylvania County as a preferred overnight destination that seamlessly integrates outdoor recreation, scenic beauty, and small-town charm, and helps protect and enhance the assets that fulfill that promise.”

For the TCT Board and Executive Director Clark Lovelace, the plan is ambitious, but also achievable.

“Creating this plan has been a long and engaging process,” said Lovelace. “Continued collaboration will be key. If we work together as a community, I truly think we can achieve some pretty amazing things. I look forward to putting all these important insights and strategies to work for everyone.”

For more information or to view the complete strategic plan, visit

strategic-plan/ or contact Lovelace at (828) 884-8900.


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