Dollywood opens and announces new economic impact on the area

Published: Mar. 18, 2017 at 8:32 AM EDT
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Dollywood opened to season pass holders on Friday and released new numbers to show how important it is for the region with unexpected growth the past few years.

You could be one of the nearly 20-thousand who have a job just because Dollywood is open. Dollywood's study found 19,285 direct jobs are created because of the park. The new economic study looking at Dollywood's $300-million investment the past few years shows more people than ever are visiting the Smokies.

Dolly Parton said her goal in opening Dollywood was to create jobs and a new economic study shows it's creating more jobs in the community because nearly 3-million people are now visiting.

"It says that our plan was good and it says people have more of what we have to offer. I think our whole team is just really quite proud of what we've accomplished and we are a little bit surprised but then again we're not?" said Craig Ross, President of Dollywood.

Current numbers show a $1.5 billion economic impact generating nearly $118 million in local and state tax collections. Pete Owens, Dollywood Spokesperson, says these returns on investment are well ahead of the projection in 2016.

"Despite the wildfires and the other issues that we had, we had a flood in June that everyone forgot about, we had a record season. That record is leading to incredible growth for our business," said Owens.

With 3 new attractions and a new dinner show coming this year, Dollywood's president says it's just a sample of what's to come.

"With that improved performance we'll pick up the pace here a little bit we'll start investing at a little higher level," said Ross. "We're definitely evolving from a regional theme park to more of a family destination."

Dollywood says with these results they plan to continue with their 10 year $300m investment plan.