Executive Director Job Posting

Haywood County Tourism Development Authority

Executive Director

Hay Now…you might want this job!

The Haywood County, North Carolina Tourism Development Authority (HCTDA) is seeking an Executive Director to market and manage Haywood County as a world-class destination.

About Haywood County

Haywood County possesses an almost magical location in the western North Carolina mountains. Haywood provides easy access to two of the most popular National Park Service sites in the United States—Great Smoky Mountains National Park (the nation’s most visited national park) and the Blue Ridge Parkway (the nation’s most visited National Park Service site) are both within the county’s borders.  Haywood County has some of the highest mountain peaks in the eastern U.S., thousands of acres of National Forest lands, the Appalachian Trail, and several wild and scenic rivers.

With a population of 62,000 residents, Haywood County also possesses five charming and unique communities as part of the destination experience: Canton, Clyde, Lake Junaluska, Maggie Valley, and the county seat, Waynesville. Haywood is also close to numerous other nearby regional attractors and activities, including Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort; The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ cultural attractions; Asheville and Biltmore Estate; and Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN. Waynesville is only a 40-minute drive from Asheville Regional Airport, one of the country’s fastest-growing airports with nonstop air service to 25 destinations.  The county is bisected by Interstate 40, providing easy access to major metropolitan areas across the South, and is directly connected by four-lane highway to Atlanta.

Haywood County tourism has experienced significant growth in the last few years, buoyed by its scenic natural beauty, easily accessible location, welcoming communities, and a strong destination marketing program. The county has a strong mix of traditional accommodations (global brand hotels, bed and breakfasts), a nationally-known religious conference center, and many short-term rentals. The HCTDA currently operates a visitor center and offices in Maggie Valley but is considering other locations for possible relocation as it evaluates the strategic role of the visitor center.

More information about Haywood County the destination can be found on the HCTDA’s consumer website: https://visitncsmokies.com/.

About Haywood County Tourism Development Authority (HCTDA)

The HCTDA is a quasi-governmental independent body established by the North Carolina state legislature in 1983 to market the county as a destination. Haywood was among the first counties in North Carolina to establish a TDA, demonstrating the long support destination marketing has enjoyed in the county.  The HCTDA is governed by a board of representatives from the tourism sector in each Haywood community and supported by ex-officio representatives from the Haywood County Board of Commissioners and Community and Economic Development .The HCTDA staff includes seven tourism marketing and sales professionals.

HCTDA is funded by a 4% occupancy tax upon all lodging in the county, including short-term rentals. The revenue derived from this tax is dedicated entirely to the growth of tourism in the county, and the organization’s annual budget is determined solely by the HCTDA board. 1% of the 4% tax is dedicated by law to a local destination marketing and event grant program for each of the county’s five communities.

The Executive Director and HCTDA staff work closely with an advertising agency of record and other external professionals to execute its annual program of work.

More information about HCTDA can be found on its website: https://haywoodtda.com/.

About the Executive Director

The HCTDA is seeking a talented professional to succeed its retiring executive director, who has served in the position for 14 years. Key characteristics for candidates include the following:

  • Professional in demeanor both in and out of the office
  • Community-minded and willing to engage with a variety of community stakeholders across the county
  • An effective communicator to staff, board members, tourism partners, stakeholders, elected officials, and residents
  • An understanding and appreciation of the HCTDA quasi-governmental structure, the state legislation that mandates what investments HCTDA can make, and the policies and processes that guide those investments

The Executive Director reports directly to the HCTDA board and all HCTDA staff are considered employees of the HCTDA. However, many of the HCTDA’s human resources’ policies mirror those of Haywood County government.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Executive Director performs administrative and supervisory work in planning, directing and coordinating the operation of the HCTDA; manages all aspects of marketing/advertising for the destination; develops long-range strategic plan to facilitate achievement of Board vision and policies; plans, organizes, supervises and directs the HCTDA staff and volunteers; oversees the operation of the Haywood County Visitor Center; directs the recruitment, selection and employment of personnel; prepares, administers and monitors HCTDA budget; and performs related work as required.


The position requires thorough knowledge of:

  • The principles and practices of travel and tourism, public relations, and related tools and techniques
  • Board composition, protocols, and public meeting requirements
  • Technical processes, procedures, and methods used in producing marketing channels and platforms
  • Social media practices
  • Equipment and software required for the position

Candidates must also possess the ability to:

  • Plan, coordinate and supervise the work of others
  • Develop and manage a budget and fiscal matters
  • Develop public relations strategies
  • Develop and maintain effective working relationships with both internal and external tourism industry partners
  • Conduct/analyze research
  • Understand basic principles of accounting
  • Communicate effectively orally and in writing
  • Safely and efficiently operate a motor vehicle
  • Attend work in office regularly
  • Use excellent interpersonal skills

Desired Education and Experience

  • A four-year college or university degree is preferred.
  • The ideal candidate will have a minimum of five years’ career experience in tourism or a related field.
  • Considerable management experience in any category is desired, preferably in a director’s capacity. 
  • Experience in developing and executing all aspects of marketing plans, implementing grants, negotiating contracts, and management of staff is preferred.
  • If the ideal candidate does not possess career experience in a destination marketing organization, she or he will be required to seek an industry certification such as Certified Destination Marketing Executive (CDME) and/or Tourism Marketing Professional (TMP), and professional development classes provided by the University of North Carolina’s School of Government.

Other Relevant Information

  • Salary for the position is commensurate with career experience and qualifications, but will be in the range of $90,000 – $120,000.  There is no contract associated with the position.
  • Finalist candidates are expected to interview in person in Haywood County. Candidates will be reimbursed for reasonable travel expenses related to the interview.
  • A pre-employment background check and drug test is required for finalist applicants before beginning work.
  • The selected candidate will be provided reimbursement for certain relocation expenses. These will be determined in consultation with the candidate.
  • The HCTDA executive committee will be responsible for interviewing candidates and making a hiring recommendation to the HCTDA board. Lobbying of either the executive committee or the board or contacting members outside of the formal hiring process is highly discouraged and may result in negatively affecting candidacy.

Please submit your resume via email to Chris Cavanaugh of Magellan Strategy Group at ccavanaugh@magellanstrategy.com. Magellan Strategy Group is assisting HCTDA with the search process.  Phone inquiries about the position will not be accepted.