Transylvania County Tourism Announces Appointment of Executive Director

The Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority Board recently appointed Clark Lovelace as the organization’s executive director, according to a press release.

The TCTDA has had a contract with the Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce since the late 1990s to meet the operational and administrative needs of the organization. Recently, both organizations realized that their growth required new approaches. Lovelace, who has served as the chamber’s executive director since 2013, is now transitioning entirely to TCTDA, which now has its own team in Transylvania County, all focused on tourism.

“I’m so lucky to live and raise my children where I want to be, my hometown.” Lovelace said in the statement. “And I can do something that allows me to have a real impact on my community. I’m incredibly proud of the work I’ve done over the past eight years for the Chamber and the TCTDA, and I’m thrilled to be able to focus fully on continuing and growing the great work of the TCTDA.

Lovelace grew up in Brevard and spent her early career in the hospitality industry working for her family at the Greystone Inn in Lake Toxaway. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Lovelace spent five years at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. In 2003 Lovelace returned to the Greystone Inn to take on the role of General Manager.

A decade later, when the family sold the business, Lovelace accepted the role of Executive Director of the Chamber, which included performing a service contract to cover the operational and administrative duties of the TCTDA. Lovelace and his wife Cherilyn have two daughters, Annabelle, 12, and Cate, 10.

Lovelace reports directly to the TCTDA Board of Directors with a team that includes MJ Gordon as Marketing and Communications Specialist, and a currently vacant position as Operations and Outreach Specialist. Anyone interested in the vacancy is encouraged to contact Lovelace at [email protected]

The tourism industry has changed significantly since the establishment of the TCTDA in 1986, with exponential growth over the past two decades. Basic promotion via print ads, a website, a brochure, and a helpful visitor center was the norm around the turn of the century. Now the priorities have changed and the tactics are different.

The TCTDA’s mission is to manage the destination, not just market it, the statement said. The current marketing plan focuses on increasing visitation during shoulder and slow seasons, ensuring the sustainability of local public lands and encouraging appropriate visitor behavior.

The TCTDA has worked to create campaigns like Be Waterfall Wise, a waterfall safety initiative, and Leave It Better to encourage positive visitor behavior. The organization’s Transylvania Always initiative has contributed more than $300,000 to projects focused on public land sustainability in Transylvania County since its inception in 2017.

Earlier this year, the TCTDA Board of Directors indicated its intention to allocate $1 million to the City of Brevard for the development of the Transylvania County portion of the Ecusta Trail, provided the grant application Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) of the city be approved.

“This has been the most exciting and productive year for the TCTDA in my 20 years of involvement with the entity,” said Layton Parker, chairman of the TCTDA board of directors, in the Press release. “We had the opportunity to strengthen the TCTDA by appointing Clark Lovelace as the new Executive Director of Tourism, establishing a new staff plan with the Transylvania County Government and redefining our relationship with the Chamber for the Center of Tourism. to make the three organizations more effective in improving tourism and protecting our beautiful resources here.

The Chamber recently hired a new executive director, Melissa Driver, to oversee the operations of its organization.

The TCTDA and the Chamber continue to enjoy a strong relationship that includes a lease of office space on the second floor of the Chamber-owned downtown Brevard building at 175 East Main Street, as well as TCTDA funding of the visitor center operated by the Chamber in the same building, according to the statement.

“As both entities process organizational changes, our commitment to serving the community with excellence remains the same,” Angela Owen, chair of the Chamber’s board of directors, said in the statement. “The Chamber is grateful for the strength of the partnership with the TCTDA and looks forward to continuing the collaboration in the future.”

The TCTDA’s mission is “to generate and enhance tourism opportunities in Transylvania County through strategic promotion coordinated with tourism-related businesses and local government and to contribute to a vibrant and sustainable economy,” according to the Press release. Funding for the organization is provided by a 5% occupancy tax on overnight visitors to Transylvania County accommodations.

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