Smokies tourism rebounding, still trails 2012

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) -- The Great Smoky Mountains National Park says visits are up since a major road has been reopened.

Still, year-to-date tourism was off 5.3 percent for the first half of 2013.

Park officials announced Friday that June visits were up 5.2 percent, compared with June 2012. A total of 1,264,490 people came into the park last month. June marks the beginning of the summer travel season and is usually when the number of visitors begins to exceed a million per month.

Park officials say visitation has returned to traditional levels since Newfound Gap Road was reopened in April. It was closed for almost three months after a Jan. 13 landslide carried a 200-foot-long section of the two-lane highway down a North Carolina slope.


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