Friday, January 21, 2011

Smokies visitation slightly down in 2010

The Great Smoky Mountains reported a total of 9,463,538 visitors to the park in 2010, a 0.3% decrease from the prior year. Although Gatlinburg (1.5%), Townsend (3.2%) and Cherokee (4.6%) each saw year over year increases, the park's 13 outlying entrances reported an overall decrease of 9.1%. Much of that decrease was driven by declines at the Foothills Pkwy East portion of the park, which has been closed for much of the year due to the reconstruction project. This section of the park saw a decline of just over a half million visitors, or 46.2% versus 2009.

The 9.46 million visitors to the park in 2010 represented the second highest total in the last decade. Only 2009, the 75th Anniversary year, was higher.

For the month of December, the entire park saw a sharp decline from the same period in 2009. Visitors arriving through the Gatlinburg entrance were down more than 40%, while Townsend dropped 20%, and Cherokee plummeted more than 56%.

Nearby Parks:

* The Blue Ridge Parkway reported a total of 14,517,119 visitors in 2010, which represented an 8.9% decrease from the previous year. This is a bit of a surprise given that the park celebrated its 75th Anniversary this past year. Road closures likely played a large part in this decline.

* Shenandoah National Park reported 1,264,347 visitors for the year, an 11.7% increase versus 2009.


No comments: