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The McDowell County Tourism Development Authority is an independent government agency created in 1986 to promote the county as a tourism destination. The agency is solely funded by the county-approved occupancy tax.

Lodging property owners, individually owned or corporate-owned hotels/motels, collect a 5% occupancy tax in addition to the local and state sales taxes. These monies are collected in arrears and remitted to the county no later than the 20th of each month. This form is to be completed and mailed in with those tax funds. Occupancy Tax Remittance Form

Occupancy tax revenue supports the Authority's work including a visitor center and staff expenses, advertising expenditures including print media, online media, interstate billboards, radio, and more. The organization creates and prints a county visitor guide, tourist map, niche publications related to the arts and downtown communities to assist tourists visiting the county, and the creation of this website.

Visitors know the department as The Blue Ridge Traveler.  The visitor center is located at 91 South Catawba Avenue in Old Fort, NC, and is open Monday through Saturday between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, and seasonal hours on Sundays, except on holidays.  Staff welcome travelers, answer questions, assist with planning, and provide a variety of travel-related information, maps, and printed publications.  

Future plans include the creation of a 15-year tourism-focused strategic plan. The purpose is to identify potential capital improvements and tourism-related branding and marketing opportunities including new logos and designs. Stay tuned.