Pigeon Forge boom: Revenue soars to new record

Mayor David Wear speaks to the Pigeon Forge Hospitality Association about the State of the City. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Pigeon Forge celebrated its post-recession rebound with revenues blowing way past last year's totals and smashing the previous record high. At a meeting of the city's Hospitality Association, Mayor David Wear said the city's revenues topped $900 million for the first time.

In Wear's State of the City address, he said it was the hard work of all businesses and city leaders that made the increase in revenue possible.

According to numbers provided by the city, that beat the 2011 total by $75 million and topped the previous record of $872.5 million set in 2007, the last year before the onset of the Great Recession.

“The year started strong and stayed that way,” Wear said. “Every month was strong, and virtually every business sector posted increases over 2011. Our tourism-based economy is extraordinary for a city with only 6,400 residents.”

Pigeon Forge's two largest business sectors led the charge, posting big gains. Amusements approached $145 million for a 14% gain wile lodging receipts grew 11% to 147.3 million.

During the recession, the city saw receipts fall as low as low as $772.6 million in 2009 and start to turn around the next year.

“Pigeon Forge was resilient during the recession. We had modest declines for two years, but nothing like the major drops in many other destinations,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

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