Pigeon Forge saw drop in hotel stays during govt. shutdown

For the first time, we're getting some hard numbers about how the federal government shutdown impacted the Smokies and the surrounding areas.

The shutdown forced the closure of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park during the peak fall tourism season.

The Pigeon Forge Hospitality Association said Thursday that Pigeon Forge saw a 6-percent drop in hotel stays during the two week shutdown.

A day before the government shutdown ended, state officials reopened the national park using state dollars. An economist says that was a good decision.

"Once our analysis at Western Carolina University indicated they were losing over $1 million dollars a day in state and local taxes, both governors saw the return on investment would be great for tax dollars to open the park and recoup part of those lot local tax dollars," said WKU's Dr. Steve Morse.

Even after the park reopened, the hospitality association says hotels still reported a drop in business, because many people had canceled their trips.


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