(WBIR) Parrot Heads flocked to Pigeon Forge to celebrate the opening of the brand new Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville restaurant.
Monday morning, the restaurant hosted its official opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony at its new location in the Island at Pigeon Forge.
Bob McManus, one of the developers of Island at Pigeon Forge, said the development started with Margaritaville.
"They were a blessing. A big find for us, so that we could the plan," said McManus. "Everything starts with a good foundation, and Magaritaville restaurant and hotel was the beginning."
Right now, McManus said 35 percent of the Island at Pigeon Forge is occupied and 80 percent is leased. A Margaritaville hotel with 132 rooms is set to open for guests Oct. 1.
McManus said even more celebrity shops and restaurants plan to open at the Island at Pigeon Forge in the near future, but he can't share the information right now.
"This is private and public community folks coming together saying we don't want a defunct property in the middle of Pigeon Forge," said Mayor David Wear. "We joined together and got this thing back on its feet."
Developments like the Island at Pigeon Forge are a big boost for the city. Wear said spending in the city last year was $937 million. Wear said with more developments like Margaritaville, Pigeon Forge could soon top $1 billion.
"One billion is an enormous amount of money for any destination, especially a city with 6,000 people, but we do a very good job," said Wear. "Our businesses and our people - we do a good job of welcoming people in, making them feel at home and getting them to come back."
In 2012, visitors spent about $16 billion across the entire state. According to the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Sevier County is the third highest county in the state for expenditures -- topped only by Davidson and Shelby counties.
Three different attractions made the department's list of top 10 Tennessee attractions, based on visitors: (#1) Dollywood and Dollywood Splash Country, (#3) Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, and (#7) Ober Gatlinburg.