Originally published in Travel Pulse News by PATRICK CLARKE | DECEMBER 02, 2016
PHOTO: Gatlinburg, Tennessee. (Photo courtesy of Thinkstock)
Tourist resorts in eastern Tennessee are reaching out to travelers in wake of devastating wildfires that ravagedthe region this week, killing at least 13 people, causing extensive property damage and prompting the evacuation of thousands of locals and visitors.
On Thursday, tourism officials in Pigeon Forge, home to Dollywood and other popular attractions near Great Smoky Mountains National Park, stressed the importance of visitors to the region’s recovery.
“Many of our city’s 6,000 residents, as well as those of our friends and family in Gatlinburg, are dependent on the tourism industry for jobs to care for themselves and their families,” said Pigeon Forge’s executive director of tourism Leon Downey in a statement. “As our communities move forward, our industry has an obligation to our residents and employees to encourage visitation to the area and sustain our businesses.”
Gatlinburg Mayor Mike Werner echoed those sentiments in a press conference earlier this week. “If you really want to do something for Gatlinburg, come back and visit us,” he said Wednesday.
Dollywood theme park, which owner Dolly Parton announced Wednesday was spared in the wildfires, reopened Friday, the Winterfest festival remains on schedule and many of the other tourist hot spots in Pigeon Forge are operating as normal heading into the weekend.
Those who aren’t able to journey to eastern Tennessee this December can also help out by donating to The Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund and other funds benefiting affected residents and local businesses, including the effort started by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
Travelers can also donate goods and volunteer by reaching out to the call center established by the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and Tennessee Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster daily at 866-586-4483.
Getting ready to plan your next trip or just interested in travel news?
Please remember to contact Destinations with Character Travel for ALL of your Disney, Universal, SeaWorld, and Orlando Area Vacations, Adventures by Disney, Cruising, Tour, and exciting vacation packages all over the world. When booking though Destinations with Character Travel, all of our Disney Services, including FastPass+ and Dining reservation services are completely FREE. Also, you will always have a DEDICATED agent, available to you 24/7 from the very first minute of planning, right up until the day you return home, to answer all of your questions and handle any of your vacation needs.
We believe no one should be denied a vacation based on needs or budget, there’s something for everyone.
- New from Ancestry® and Kensington Tours Personal Heritage Journeys – A journey unlike any other, one you will cherish forever. - March 2, 2021
- Great Deal for The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana! - March 1, 2021
- Royal Caribbean Odyssey of the Seas – Inaugural Season Now Sailing From Haffa, Israel in May 2021 - March 1, 2021