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Like many mountain destination towns, Blowing Rock saw a very busy year during the pandemic as people sought outdoor
escapes. The sudden growth in visitation prompted the board of the Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority (TDA) to commission another in-depth study of Blowing Rock- this time to create a Tourism Management Plan.

What are the best ways for our community to preserve the things that make it special, while being open to
growth? What should that growth look like? The TDA wants everyone to be part of this conversation!

A professional researcher and facilitator, Roger Brooks of Destination Development
Association, has been hired to help the TDA and the Town of Blowing Rock coordinate
the effort required to create a plan. Roger Brooks has worked with over 2000
communities across the globe to help them improve the lives of their residents and the
experiences of their visitors by finding sustainable solutions to unique challenges. He will
be arriving in July to stay in Blowing Rock for a month to learn all he can about the place
we call home.

It’s not his first visit, however. Mr. Brooks “secret shopped” Blowing Rock earlier this
year. The kickoff for this project is a public presentation of his experiences. The
public is invited to his Assessment Findings & Suggestions Workshop at the Blowing
Rock American Legion building on Thursday, July 1 at 8:30 a.m. These initial
suggestions will be based on successes in other communities, and the presentation
promises to be engaging and entertaining. Following the presentation, Mr. Brooks will be
available for questions.

The remainder of July will be spent gathering more detailed input from everyone that is
willing to offer it, mainly through resident surveys. These can be accessed electronically,
or picked up from Town Hall, starting in early July. In addition, Mr. Brooks will be
conducting interview sessions on Tuesday, July 6 and Wednesday, July 7. Each interview
is a listening session for small groups of year-round and seasonal homeowners, business
owners, organizations, frontline employees, etc. If you would like to be part of these
hour-long discussions with Mr. Brooks, sign up by calling the Blowing Rock TDA at
828-295-4636 or emailing Amanda Lugenbell: amanda@visitblowingrock.com.

Blowing Rock has long been a travel destination, and with more people come challenges
with parking and traffic flow, pedestrian movement, and strain on local and natural
resources. The Blowing Rock TDA seeks to turn challenges into opportunities while
helping make the town a better place to live, work, and visit.

“The Blowing Rock TDA has always been invested in improving the lives of residents
through the local tourism economy, while making efforts to mitigate the impact of
visitors,” said Tracy Brown, Director of the Blowing Rock TDA. He noted that
occupancy taxes collected by the TDA have funded parking decks and sidewalk
improvements, and contributed to community assets like the Blowing Rock Art &
History Museum and the Middle Fork Greenway. Since its organization, the Blowing
Rock TDA has also worked to spread out visitation by encouraging visitation in off-
season months and on weekdays.

“A Tourism Management Plan will allow a more measured, proactive approach to ensuring
a sustainable tourism economy in Blowing Rock,” Brown said. “The TDA looks forward to
building this plan with the entire community, and we’re excited to get started.”

For more information about the presentation, study, or the upcoming management plan,
contact Tracy Brown at the Blowing Rock TDA, 828-295-4636 or
tbrown@visitblowingrock.com.

(published June 2021)