It was recently announced that 9 million Great Smoky Mountain National Park visitors spent $800million during the past year which is the most of any US National Park. My first thought is that the nearly $90 per person spending is pretty good given that we are in the middle of a very difficult recession.
We have however seen this before. The Gatlinburg area has always fared well during this sort of economic environment. During challenging times, families considering cost cutting still choose to have their vacation trips but they often do it in a more affordable fashion. People who usually take a week long vacation to the beach may choose instead to enjoy a 3 or 4 day trip to the mountains for several reasons. The fact is that the long weekend or 4 day trip to the Gatlinburg area is more affordable than the beach for a number of reasons:
For travelers from most of the Eastern United States (and much of the US population in general) the drive to the Smokies is no more than a day’s drive. This eliminates the expense of the airline tickets, the rental car, and the higher priced entertainment found at the beach. To be sure some of Sevier County’s entertainment is rather pricey. A family’s day of recreation at Dollywood is no cheap date at $53.65 per adult ticket and $42.45 for a child’s ticket. Add to this expensive food options and the additional spending opportunities of a day at the park and you have an expensive day indeed. Not surprisingly the visitor count at Dollywood IS down somewhat this year. On the other hand affordable Smoky Mountain restaurants, lodging options, and entertainment venues are having a good year because they represent excellent value.
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is still absolutely free to visit which is a real bargain. As I often say, “Free is my FAVORITE price!” This is the same sort of success that our community has enjoyed during other recessionary times due to the affordability.
If you are looking for an affordable vacation option nothing represents a better value than a log cabin or a chalet in the mountains. If you are looking for a real estate bargain we can show you some excellent values there too. No they aren’t free, but with our current “Buyer Friendly” market you may never see a better opportunity. For a current inventory of foreclosures (ours and other area firms listings too) please click here.