Tourism Initiatives

Tourism Development

The Tourism Development Manager continued to be involved in various initiatives to preserve and promote the various genres of traditional and heritage music across the state. Small towns are an important part of the North Carolina landscape.

Visit North Carolina is actively involved in ongoing programming either independently or in conjunction with partners such as the NC Rural Center, Department of Commerce’s Division of Community Assistance, Department of Natural & Cultural Resources and NC Arts Council, NC Folklife Institute, Handmade in America, Homegrown Handmade and NC State Cooperative Extension to foster revitalization that will make the communities more attractive to residents and visitors. To do so, Visit North Carolina’s Tourism Development team:

Tourism Resource Assistance Center (TRAC)

The Tourism Resource Assistance Center (TRAC) was developed along with the Industry Relation Manager to bring Visit North Carolina’s program managers to local communities to discuss the nuts and bolts of working with Visit North Carolina.

TRAC sessions prior to 2015:

  1. New Bern
  2. Lexington
  3. Smithfield
  4. Bryson City
  5. Morganton
  6. Jacksonville
  7. Edenton
  8. Greensboro
  9. Outer Banks “Mini TRAC”
  10. Fayetteville
  11. Wilmington
  12. Danbury – Stokes Co.
  13. Pinehurst
  14. Yadkinville
  15. Warrenton
  16. Greenville
  17. Blowing Rock
  18. Banner Elk/Beech Mountain

Community Partnerships and Heritage Development

Visit North Carolina also continued to be actively engaged in the development of outdoor recreational/ecotourism/agritourism/heritage opportunities in the regions across the state. Farms, waterways, hiking and biking trails, greenways and open spaces are important features in a community that improve and promote quality of life and link people with their natural and cultural heritage. These partnerships include assistance in researching resources for communities, working with communities interested in TDA development, marketing initiatives, heritage trails development and product development plans.

Blue Ridge National Heritage Area (BRNHA)

Created by congressional legislation, the BRNHA is supported through a partnership with Visit North Carolina to assist in coordinating planning for the 25 counties in the designated region. Visit North Carolina continued to assist in the implementation of the county initiatives outlined in each county’s heritage plan, and has an active role in assisting the BRNHA in developing, facilitating and guiding communities along the Blue Ridge Parkway for themes such as agriculture, arts and culture, traditional music, history/heritage and natural resources. In addition, Visit North Carolina continued work on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina with the BRNHA and the NC Arts Council to roll out the new book and map guide, as well as worked closely with the communities participating in the NC STEP Program through the NC Rural Center and the NC Main Street Program.

Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)

Visit North Carolina also continued efforts with the Appalachian Regional Commission Tourism Council in developing an updated culinary guide of restaurants, agritourism farms, farm-to-table, restaurants, microbreweries and distilleries within the region. The guide was distributed in the 2015 spring issue of Edible Communities Magazine.

North Carolina Civil War Trails

The Civil War Trails Program is marketed in five states – Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina, with more than 1,000 interpretive markers. Visit North Carolina continued to partner with the North Carolina Department of Transportation and North Carolina Department of Natural & Cultural Resources to promote the NC Civil War Trails program.  Marketing Universals were developed by Civil War Trails Inc. and all five state partners to display the program as the “best” way to experience Civil War history, using social media, print and online advertising.

Cultural Heritage Trails Development

Certified Retirement Community Program

The North Carolina Department of Commerce operates a community development program for communities that are positioning for retiree attraction as an economic and community development strategy. The N.C. General Assembly, during the 2008 short session, recognized the inherent panoply of quality living that the state offers and established the N.C. Certified Retirement Community Program (S.L. 2008-188) as a vehicle to designate communities that offer this unprecedented quality of living that is sought by the mature community.

To gain certification, a local government must submit an application for consideration. Initial evaluation of the community and technical assistance is provided by the Department of Commerce’s Community Development Division. The designation has a five-year life, after which communities will need to consider recertification at the sunset of the five-year period. Once a community has completed the certification process, Visit North Carolina will help market and promote the community.

    1. Lumberton (pilot program)
    2. Asheboro
    3. Marion
    4. Sanford
    5. Pittsboro
    6. Mt. Airy
    7. Eden
    8. Edenton
    9. Tarboro
    10. Winterville