Study: Smokies closure costs $33 million in lost spending so far

Study: Smokies closure costs $33 million in lost spending so far

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CULLOWHEE, N.C. (WATE) - A study conducted by an economist at Western Carolina University estimates that the first 10 days of the government shutdown has cost more than $33 million in lost visitor spending in the 18 Tennessee and North Carolina counties within 60 miles of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Economist Steve Morse says the shutdown, which resulted in the closure of campgrounds and visitor centers has resulted in more than $12 million in lost wages for workers, $1.8 million in lost state taxes and $1 million in lost local taxes.

Morse, who is the director of WCU's Hospitality and Tourism Program, presented his results Friday during a joint legislative luncheon at the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Gatlinburg Hospitality Association.

Morse says the closure means 36,912 visitors per day are not visiting the park or spending money in the local economy.

The lack of visitors and the lost revenue will continue until the partial government shutdown is over or until the park is reopened, he said.

Morse based his analysis on previous economic impact studies and data on visitor spending in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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