Pigeon Forge leaders say tourism begins to rebound during state of the city address

Pigeon Forge leaders said that the city is starting to see more tourists stopping by to visit, after a drop in tourism revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pigeon Forge leaders said that the city is starting to see more tourists stopping by to visit, after a large drop in tourism revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They gave a virtual State of the City address on Wednesday. During the address, leaders said that business revenue dropped 12% compared to the year before because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, tourism numbers began to return to normal levels during June and July as stay-at-home orders were lifted.

Leon Downey, the Director of the Department of Tourism, gave an address about tourism in the city.

“I wanted to thank the many members of our community that worked tirelessly to create, implement and reinforce all the new guidelines and safety protocols that are required for our businesses to reopen safely this past year,” he said. “It is because of your efforts we could promote our destinations being open for business in 2020.”

Downey also said that there was a 7% increase in the number of first-time visitors. He also said that much of the increase in tourism around Pigeon Forge was influenced by the department’s marketing efforts.

He said that occupancy levels over the fall and winter met levels from before the pandemic, giving tourists more space to stay.

The department used $793,061 in the fall and winter to promote safe travel to Pigeon Forge. City leaders also invested an additional $500,000 into tourism marketing for 2021, Downey said.

Many events were canceled in Pigeon Forge because of the pandemic, so officials said they are taking a new approach towards events this year. The city’s Wilderness Wildlife Week was held virtually, and the Chuckwagon Cookoff Competition is scheduled to be held outdoors later this month. The Mountain Quiltfest is also scheduled for May with limited capacity.

Downey also shared a new commercial to promote travel to Pigeon Forge that will release in 2021, called “The Voices.”


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