Blowing Rock Tourism Development Closing Visitor Center, Moving Offices on June 7

Published Thursday, May 5, 2016 at 10:49 am

The Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority will be moving to the historic Robbins House on Park Avenue June 7. In association with the move, the Visitor Center, currently housed in BRAHM, will close June 1. TDA Executive Director Tracy Brown said that the reopening of a new visitor center on the completed 321 Bypass may be an option in a couple of years.

Brown said that the move and closure were a result of several factors, including the establishment of a North Carolina High Country Host visitor center at the Appalachian Ski Mountain Welcome Center, diminishing use of the Blowing Rock Visitor Center in recent years and the opportunity to colocate TDA offices with the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce. The TDA will move into office space with the Chamber at 132 Park Avenue on Tuesday, June 7.

“Numbers for visitor centers in general have been dropping slightly each year and we have seen a corresponding and dramatic increase in web site visits, along with the use of mobile devices, which have become hand-held, virtual visitor centers.

“We work so closely with the Chamber that it’s much easier to work across the hall rather than down the street, so it’s always been our intention to move back in with the Chamber at some point. The way our current leases were expiring, it made sense to align both TDA and Chamber leases and get into the same building now,” Brown said.

Chamber Executive Director Charles Hardin was equally enthusiastic about the impending move of the TDA to its Park Avenue location. “The Chamber is excited to have the Blowing Rock TDA with us again. It has been the intention of both organizations since the DOT purchased the old Visitor Center building on Valley Boulevard to eventually be back under one roof. There are many activities which the Chamber and the TDA work together on that will be more streamlined and efficient under one roof. The cost savings from this colocation will enable precious funds to be more effectively utilized to promote and advertise Blowing Rock as a destination,” Hardin said.

Brown said because the TDA is a member of High Country Host, and because of the proximity of their new visitor center to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Blowing Rock, he’s certain they’ll do a great job of providing the information on Blowing Rock that future visitors may be seeking.

The current site of High Country Host in Boone is owned by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, who recently sold it to a developer, prompting the move to the new Appalachian Ski Welcome Center. Brown said that discussions with the DOT regarding a future move of the TDA and Chamber to a Bypass site are ongoing.

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