October took a hit with park shutdown, YTD trends are up

Percent Change in Sales form Jan - Aug, Year-to-Date 2013 over 2012

Percent Change in Sales form Jan - Aug, Year-to-Date 2013 over 2012

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Sevier County tourism is looking up for the year despite a pour October with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park being closed.

Year-to-Date tourist spending on theaters and shows is up by 10.5% over the same time period last year. Retail follows behind at 7.6% and restaurants with a 3.8% increase.

Dr. Steve Morse, Economist with Western Carolina University says 2013 has been a big year but October took a dive.

In the first 15 days of the National Park shutdown, the number of room nights sold decreased by 6.1% in Sevier County. The second 15 days saw a 1.9% decrease in room nights sold.

Morse says he's forecasting a 3% increase in tourism for 2014. He says steady gas prices, the new LeConte Center and new Rocky Top Sports world will help bring more people to the area next year.

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