The Tourism Board drives economic development by promoting travel, tourism and visitor services. It sponsors programs and activities designed to improve Hillsborough's attractiveness to visitors. To accomplish this, the board reinvests the town's prepared food and beverage tax in funding for grants, special projects and partnerships, and contract services.
All meetings are open to the public.
For more information, contact Planning and Economic Development Manager Shannan Campbell by email or by phone at 919-296-9477.
The board’s activities are supported by proceeds from a 1 percent tax on prepared food and beverages. Of the net proceeds, 40 percent is allocated to facilities, programs and services designed to attract tourists. The rest is allocated to the operation of the visitors center, production and distribution of promotional materials, marketing, market research, visitor services and other services designed to make visitors’ stay pleasant and instructive.
Grant applications are accepted for a wide range of special events and projects in and around Hillsborough. Applicants must present a thorough description of their projects’ administration and the organizations’ ability to sustain any expenses outside of the grant cycle.
The grant application period begins in February and ends in March. Applications are competitively scored in April, and awards are announced at the May Tourism Board meeting. Applicants receive official notification of funding status in June.
Projects are funded in the order of scoring until funds are exhausted. Grant payments are issued in lump sums as requested by the applicants.
After a grant-funded project has concluded, a final project report including budget numbers is required, along with the return of any unused grant funds.
The Tourism Board has added a funding mechanism for special projects and partnerships to remain responsive to opportunities to expand tourism and to partner with local nonprofit organizations to promote travel and tourism; sponsor tourism-related events; and finance tourism-related capital projects. Requests for special projects and partnerships are generally small in scope, are needed only once, and must demonstrate or explain how the project or partnership will expand tourism. Requests for this type of funding are not generally accepted during the March-July grant cycle.
The board contracts with several organizations and individuals in order to provide regular administration and visitor services in town. Contracts require annual reports to the board and are renewable yearly. Contract amounts are dispersed as agreed by both parties.
The Tourism Board has contracted with the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough to operate the Hillsborough Visitors Center in the first floor of the Alexander Dickson House at 150 E. King St. The center offers a gift shop, tours, exhibits and gardens.
Mark Bateman — restaurant/pub representative
- Term expires Dec. 14, 2022
Barney Caton — at-large member
- Term expires Dec. 9, 2021
Matt Hughes — chair, Board of Commissioners representative
- Term expires Dec. 31, 2022
Barry Hupp — restaurant/pub representative
- Term expires Oct. 22, 2022
Vacant Seat — restaurant/pub representative
- Term expires Dec. 31, 2021
Vacant Seat — at-large member
- Term expires Dec. 22, 2022
Tommy Stann — restaurant/pub representative
- Term expires March 8, 2023
Kim Tesoro — vice chair, Chamber of Commerce representative
- Term expires Aug. 10, 2022
Cathleen Turner — Alliance for Historic Hillsborough representative
- Term expires Feb. 10, 2022