Great Smoky Mountains tourism creates $1.38 billion in economic benefits

A new National Park Service report shows that tourism to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2020 created a cumulative $1.38 billion benefit to the local economy.

The park saw more than 12 million visitors in 2020 despite the pandemic.

“In spite of an incredibly difficult year in the world and in our neighboring communities, we are proud to have worked alongside our communities to serve visitors to this area in 2020,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “We remain committed to safely serving visitors in our communities and the park as they continue to explore our area and find the amazing resources the Smokies have to offer.”

The report was a peer-reviewed spending analysis that showed that 234,000 jobs were supported by spending in and near national parks. The report shows that lodging and restaurant spending were the highest contributors.

Source: WVLT, by Camruinn Morgan-Rumsey

The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit



Published July 1, 2021