KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Attractions in Gatlinburg are optimistic for an increase in visitors as summer approaches and businesses reopen.
Marcus Watson, marketing manager for SkyLift Gatlinburg, said the area enjoyed a busy weekend after many attractions in Sevier County opened May 22.
"We expect to see growing numbers in the weekends to come and as we move closer to summer," Watson told The Knoxville News Sentinel.
The amusement park Ober Gatlinburg's visitation was down about 30% from May 22-27 compared to last year, marketing manager Tom Royther said.
"We understand that the current situation will decrease visitation, but if weather had been better I am sure we would have been a lot closer to last year's numbers," Royther said in an email to the newspaper.
Dollywood has not yet announced its reopening date or plans.
Royther said visitors would be quicker to return to a driving destination like Gatlinburg than other markets that see more air travel.
Watson anticipates attraction attendance moving back to normal in summer and fall, based on occupancy reports from hotels.
"If everyone continues to work together to create a safe place in these mountains, I believe we will begin to see normal visitation soon," he said.