Tourism and Economic Research in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina
The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership periodically commissions research to gauge the health of the local tourism industry, to assess visitor preferences, and to quantify the impact of tourism and related industries on the regional economy.
Economic Impact of Heritage Tourism – 2014
According to a 2014 study commissioned by the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership, heritage tourism contributes $2.39 billion annually to the economy of Western North Carolina, supporting more than 30,000 jobs and generating $176.5 million in state and local tax revenue. Heritage tourism also supports the conservation and sustainability of the region’s parks, forests, waterways, historic sites, and cultural traditions.
Economic Impact of Traditional Music Venues and Events – 2012
A 2012 study of traditional music venues and events in Western North Carolina revealed an economic impact of $20.7 million for the 26 locations in the study sample. In surveys conducted as part of the study, 99% of visitors said they would return to the event or venue next year, indicating a very high level of customer satisfaction and loyalty. The survey was commissioned by the North Carolina Arts Council and the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership.
- Economic impact of traditional music (3-page executive summary)
- Economic impact of traditional music (infographic)
Economic Impact of Crafts – 2008
The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area co-sponsored a 2008 economic impact study of the professional craft industry of Western North Carolina:
WNC Vitality Index
The Western North Carolina Vitality Index is a web-based tool that presents current information and research on a wide range of environmental, economic, and cultural resources of 27 counties in Western North Carolina. The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership provided funding to expand this resource to include the entire Western North Carolina region as well as cultural resource information.
The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership has commissioned region-wide visitor studies and visitor surveys at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center in Asheville, NC.
- Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center Survey – 2011
- Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center Survey – 2010
- Smoky Mountain Host/Cherokee Travel Study – 2008
- BRNHA Visitor Survey – 2006
- BRNHA Visitor Survey – 2005
- BRNHA Tourism Economic Impact Study – 2004