Tourism and Economic Research in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina
The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area conducts research to gauge the vitality of the local tourism industry, to assess visitor preferences, and to quantify the impact of tourism and related industries on the regional economy.
Research efforts have been conducted by teams from Appalachian State University, Western Carolina University, and the Marketing Workshop of Norcross, GA. Many partner organizations contributed data and helped to collect visitor surveys. The Cherokee Preservation Foundation and AdvantageWest Economic Development Group have provided major funding support.
The research consists of:
1. An economic impact analysis for the year 2004 to establish a baseline for future comparisons. Both region-wide and county-specific impacts are quantified.
2. Visitor surveys collected across the region in 2005 and 2006.
3. Visitor research in Cherokee, NC and in the seven far-western counties of the region.
4. Visitor Survey in Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center, Asheville, NC, October-November, 2010.
Research findings are presented in the following reports:
• BRNHA Tourism Economic Impact Study -2004
• BRNHA Visitor Survey - 2005
• BRNHA Visitor Survey - 2006
• Smoky Mountain Host/Cherokee Travel Study - 2008
• Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center Survey - 2010
Mountain Art Research - Traditional Crafts Economic Reports
The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area also co-sponsored a 2008 economic impact study of the professional craft industry of Western North Carolina: