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What is the Tourism Development Authority?

What is a Tourism Development Authority (TDA)?

Since the inception of North Carolina occupancy tax legislation as an ecomic development tool in 1983, counties in the state have requested their own occupancy tax legislation. Each county's legislative bill was individually drafted, and over time the legislation and revenue use guidelines have evolved.

In 1985, the N.C. legislature passed a bill creating the McDowell County Tourism Development Authority. The bill defines how the organization will operate, following state and county guidelines. In 2007, the bill was amended and since then, no new legislation has been presented or approved.

The TDA and McDowell County Government entered into a local agreement, with the TDA operating as a self-funded department under the county government's umbrella of operations. The county collects monthly occupancy tax revenue. According to legislation, the county is paid a percentage of this revenue to cover operating expenses and the balance is used by the TDA to promote the county as a tourism destination. Occupancy tax is paid by lodging property overnight guests. For McDowell County, it is a 5% tax added to your nightly bill.

Remitting Occupancy Tax

If you own a lodging property, you or your management organization collect the 5% occupancy tax and remit those funds to the McDowell County Finance Department.

Report your occupancy tax: Occupancy Tax Remittance Form

What we do at the McDowell TDA

The TDA's work includes, but is not limited to, operating a visitor center in downtown Old Fort, NC, creating and distributing promotional print materials, creating and executing advertising campaigns, and managing a website, and social media accounts. The website includes an event calendar. To submit a tourism-related event, email us at [email protected]

The McDowell TDA considers sponsorship requests for events taking place in McDowell County that generate overnight stays, with the sponsorship funds going toward marketing, promotion and advertising at least 50 miles outside of McDowell County. 

Get more information: Sponsorship Policy and Application Form

In addition to marketing and promoting McDowell County as a destination for visitors, the McDowell TDA has partnered with local government entities, local business and nonprofit organizations, and other groups to invest in the creation of a countywide, tourism-focused economic development plan. Each year, the TDA Board of Directors approves tourism-related expenditures within the parameters of this strategic plan, with funds used to match grants and other sources of project revenue.

View our Strategic Plan: Destination McDowell - Planning For The Future

2023-2024 McDowell TDA Board of Directors

  • Chuck Aldridge, Chair - Mountain Appalachian Inn
  • Brigette Walters, Vice Chair - Inn on Mill Creek
  • Cassie Miller, Secretary - Holiday Inn Express & Suites
  • Nora Coffey, Member - Lake James State Park
  • Jeremy Poore, Member - MountainTop Shuttles
  • Kyle Sims, Member - North Cove Leisure Club and Disc Golf
  • Nathan Gowan, Member - Switzerland Inn
  • Lynn Greene, Ex-Officio Member - McDowell County Commissioner
  • Kimberly Effler, Ex-Officio Member - President and CEO, McDowell Chamber of Commerce

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