Tourists flock to Gatlinburg for holiday vacations

Tourists flock to Gatlinburg for holiday vacations

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"We're going to walk and see some more sites and buy some more stuff," said tourist Jody Baggett. "We're going to walk and see some more sites and buy some more stuff," said tourist Jody Baggett.
Many people from outside Sevier County are packing cabins and chalets ahead of New Year's Eve. Many people from outside Sevier County are packing cabins and chalets ahead of New Year's Eve.
© "We have scheduled 83 arrivals today, I looked it up, and then another 40 tomorrow. We have some holdovers that checked in before the holiday, and they'll stay through New Year's," said Christine Maltese of Jackson Mountain Homes. © "We have scheduled 83 arrivals today, I looked it up, and then another 40 tomorrow. We have some holdovers that checked in before the holiday, and they'll stay through New Year's," said Christine Maltese of Jackson Mountain Homes.

By JESSA LEWIS
6 News Reporter

GATLINBURG (WATE) - Tourists are packing the Smokies during their holiday vacations, and they aren't letting chilly temperatures or rain slow them down.

Families were out and about on Wednesday, spending their Christmas money in Gatlinburg.

"They all wanted to go on a cruise at first and I was threw a fit and said it wasn't very Christmassy," said Mackenzie Carney, of Waynesboro, Miss.

The drizzle isn't stopping people from walking through downtown.

"We're going to walk and see some more sites and buy some more stuff," said tourist Jody Baggett.

"We were going to go skiing, we're going to go to the aquarium, and we just came from the theater," said tourist Triston Wallace.

Jim Davis at the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau says things are slowly improving when it comes to visitor spending.

"The last two or three years have steadily gotten better," said Davis. "There are more people sharing the tourism dollar now and it's very competitive and people are finding ways to get their share of the people coming here, but that's to the advantage of the visitor."

Cabin and lodge rentals companies are also getting a piece of the tourism pie.

Many people from outside Sevier County are packing cabins and chalets ahead of New Year's Eve. A number of places are completely sold out.

Jackson Mountain Homes workers say they don't have any vacant cabins until Jan. 2, and said Dec. 26 is their busiest day of the year.

"We have scheduled 83 arrivals today, I looked it up, and then another 40 tomorrow. We have some holdovers that checked in before the holiday, and they'll stay through New Year's. Between today, tomorrow, and the next day, we'll have everything checked in," said Christine Maltese.

They say it's no different from other years, and that they had a few spots left this past week.

"Christmas, it's an odd thing. We don't get as many Christmas arrivals as New Year's arrivals, and the week between. I think a lot of people like to stay home for the holidays. We were busy, but we still had a few things open," she said.

And unlike people hoping to hit the slopes, cabin companies aren't hoping for snow.

"We pray for no snow over the holidays. I know Ober would probably not like me saying that, but don't mind the cold weather, love it that they can make snow, but snow complicates things for us," Maltese said.

Snow doesn't help downtown businesses either.

"Seems like quite a bit fewer this year," said Ken Kooch of Fudge Shoppe of the Smokies. "The weather up north, the snow that's going on, people just can't get here. So i'm sure a lot of people have canceled their plans, but we've got what we've got and we'll make do with that."

The last couple of years have been hard on the fudge shop, but they're hoping people coming in for the New Year's celebration will stop by and spend.

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