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Since before the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was chartered in 1934, Western North Carolina has been a sought-after destination for tourists from across the country and across the world. 

The Jackson County Tourism Development Authority has its first permanent employee following a unanimous vote from the Jackson County Commissioners this month.

Haywood County Tourism Development Authority Executive Director Lynn Collins has been making the rounds like a travelling saleswoman lately — pitching a room occupancy tax increase to anyone who will listen.

Every few years, elected officials at the local and county levels of government dribble the ball down the court, passing it back and forth while advancing toward the hoop with the kind of unselfish teamwork that usually results in an easy layup.

Supporters of a proposed hike in Haywood County’s room occupancy tax were silenced in the state legislature in 2013, but much noise was again made over the issue during the recent election. Now, with new players in place and old adversaries entrenched, is there a chance a room tax hike could pass?

After months of talking, planning and producing, Jackson County is set to unleash a new ad campaign and website showcasing the county’s best to a deep bench of potential visitors, and tourism director Nick Breedlove is enthusiastic about the results. 

coverIf a rising tide lifts all boats, it only makes sense for organizations with common goals to work together, but cooperation hasn’t always come so easy for the Maggie Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority.  

• Three seats open on Maggie Chamber board
• The value of a Maggie chamber membership

Though both entities work toward the ultimate goal of promoting local tourism, arguments have surfaced throughout the years over funding and duplicating services. 

fr visitorcenterThe Haywood County Tourism Development Authority will celebrate the grand opening of its new visitor center with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15. What remains to be seen, however, is whether visitors to Haywood County will follow them.

fr jaxTDATourism folks in Jackson County are feeling hopeful after hiring a new marketing firm to spread the word about the county’s hidden wonders.

fr visitorcenterThe primary visitor center for Haywood County will be moving this spring from downtown Waynesville to Maggie Valley.

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