ASHEVILLE – Buncombe County lodging sales smashed a record in July at $65 million and are expected to do it again in October despite continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Buncombe Tourism Development Authority officials.
July was the second month in a row that hotels, vacation rentals and traditional bed and breakfasts collectively set a sales record, generating $56.7 million in June, according to the latest published TDA financial data.
August numbers will be presented at the Oct. 27 TDA meeting. TDA President and CEO Victoria Isley said Oct. 21 she did not yet know what the August-October numbers were. But lodging owners are already reporting high traffic, Isley said.
“From what we are hearing anecdotally we anticipate total lodging sales, including hotels and vacation rentals, for October of 2021 may exceed July 2021.”
The high sales in turn generated record lodging taxes, which are controlled by the TDA. That raised renewed calls for a reform of the tax that goes mostly to advertising to draw more tourists.
Hotels led sales in July at $40.2 million. But Airbnbs and other vacation rentals have showed some of the biggest gains, generating $23.2 million that month. B&Bs brought in $1.7 million. The rise of vacation rents reflects a change that happened during the pandemic and appears to be long-term Isley said.
“This positive trajectory for all lodging partners translates to more business for other local business sectors like outdoor outfitters and guides, retail and artist shops, restaurants, breweries and more.”
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