Asheville’s hotel and Airbnb sales could break record $ 65 million despite COVID

ASHEVILLE – Accommodation sales in Buncombe County broke a record in July at $ 65 million and are set to restart in October despite the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to officials at the Buncombe Tourism Development Authority.

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 financial data released by the TDA.

August figures will be presented at the ADT meeting on October 27th. TDA President and CEO Victoria Isley said on October 21 that she did not yet know what the numbers were from August to October. But hosting owners are already reporting high traffic, Isley said.

“From what we hear anecdotally, we expect total accommodation sales, including hotels and vacation rentals, for October 2021 could exceed July 2021.”

Victoria "Vic" Isley.

The high sales have in turn generated record lodging taxes, which are controlled by the TDA. This has sparked new calls for tax reform that mainly goes to advertising to attract more tourists.

Hotels led sales in July at $ 40.2 million. But Airbnbs and other vacation rentals recorded some of the biggest gains, generating $ 23.2 million this month. The guesthouses grossed $ 1.7 million. The increase in vacation rentals reflects a change that occurred during the pandemic and appears to be long term, Isley said.

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