Sevier County businesses gather to discuss post-fire recovery

Downtown Gatlinburg from the Space Needle following the wildfires.

PIGEON FORGE (WATE) – Business leaders from Sevier County attended a luncheon Thursday to discuss the recovery effort. Sevierville, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are coming together to let visitors know the Smoky Mountains are still there.

“The best way to do that we found is by pooling some of our marketing dollars and resources together, we were able to go to markets and a larger mass of people,” said Mark Adams with the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The focus of the meeting was for hotels, restaurants and attractions to learn different ways to share the message that Sevier County is open for business. Sid Maples, the owner of Sidney James Mountain Lodge in Gatlinburg, says he realized the power of social media.

“Getting some live footage out there some live feeds, live pictures, that’s what’s going to let people know that we’re still here,” Maples said.

Maples says recovery hasn’t been easy.

“Trying to be optimistic and looking forward and how to get things back on track, that’s been the challenge,” said Maples.

Now businesses are looking forward to what comes next.

“Some of it’s going to be supply and demand, some of its going to be public perception, some of its going to come from the marketing dollars we’re spending now, but I’m thinking for the next three years we’re probably going to experience an uptick,” said Maples.

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