Canadians study Sevier County tourism

This group from Atlantic Canada is learning about the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts community. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A group from Canada has been touring the Smokies to see how tourism operates, but they found out it's much like what they see at home.

Matthew Jelley is a small business owner from Atlantic Canada who is touring with nearly 20 people from the region. He describes tourism there as a scaled down version of what happens in the Smokies. His town grows from about 270 people in the Winter to nearly 20,000 in the summer.

"It's been very interesting we come from communities that have some similarities to this region," said Jelley. "They keep telling us it's with in 2/3 of the US population over 100 million people, for us that same might be 2 million people."

For people touring the group, they learned something also, that issues in tourism are the same in other places.

"But spending the week with this group and taking them around to Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg There's been a tremendous sense of pride seeing it through their eyes there perspective," said Mary Hope Maples, Director Smoky Mountain Tourism Development Council.

The group left on Friday but before hand got a chance to see the Gatlinburg arts and crafts community, of which they have a similar area at home.

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