COVID-19 kept many people at home amid the pandemic, but end of year numbers look promising for the cities in the tourist mecca of Sevier County.
Thanks to an ideal location, outdoor adventures and safety measures, tourism in the county’s most popular cities survived while travel destinations across the country struggled.
Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg leaders learned how to adapt to the pandemic early on, and now they’re ready for whatever 2021 throws at them.
Here’s how the three cities came together in 2020 to take on the virus and entice tourists to visit.
The cities of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg ended 2019 with record-breaking tourism revenue and visitation. If the numbers were any indicator, 2020 looked like it’d be another year of growth.
“We felt very positive rolling into 2020, but then when COVID hit, it was really a big unknown,” said Mark Adams, president and CEO of Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We had no idea what we were facing for the future.”
Cases across the region climbed during the last days of March, resulting in travel restrictions that directly affected the three cities.