BOONE — The inaugural 2022 Discover Watauga Tourism Summit took place last Tuesday for tourism partners of the Watauga County and Boone Tourism Development Authorities (Explore Boone). Several awards recognized tourism professionals and entities for their contributions to Watauga County’s tourism industry.

The program began with staff introductions and a brief explanation of the Tourism Development Authority’s structure and history as a destination marketing organization. Executive Director Wright Tilley presented a summary of the County’s short-term occupancy tax collections report from 2021 compared to previous years. Tilley also reported on infrastructure projects throughout the county that have been funded partially or entirely by occupancy tax revenue. These include Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park, the Middle Fork Greenway, new wayfinding signage, and paddle access areas on the New and Watauga Rivers.

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