City of Gatlinburg thriving despite recent wildfires

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WIAT) — Despite the recent wildfires that engulfed parts of Gatlinburg, city leaders say the tourist city is now thriving.

Marci Claude from the city of Gatlinburg says the burned areas affected thousands of residential areas that residents are currently rebuilding. She is encouraging the public to return for their vacations and family trips.

The city is even constructing new attractions including a shopping complex, scenic overlook, children’s rides and coasters.

Claude says despite the myths the city is gone, tourists will be pleasantly surprised to find the Great Smoky Mountains city as they remember it.

“I think that it’s important that we dispel the myth that Gatlinburg has burned to the ground and the Smoky Mountains burned to the ground,” said Claude. “That’s not the case at all and we have been pleasantly surprised that a lot of our visitors are coming back. So we’re happy to hear that.”

She says the national park has marked record visitation for two consecutive years, reaching 11.2 million visitors.

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