Dolly Parton is expanding her Pigeon Forge theme park, and the price tag is more than the last 28 years worth of investments in Dollywood. A new, family roller coaster and resort hotel are at the center of the $300 million plan.
Dollywood president Craig Ross considers the new hotel a necessity for growth.
“All this means is that tourism is a product-driven business, and if you want people to visit you, you have to invite them.”
But it also means that Dollywood will become a competitor with the nearby hotels that have long benefited from the park’s popularity.
Parton hopes the new resort is the first of many, but insists the expansion will bring in more new customers for everyone.
“We feel we have that responsibility to bring in visitors so all the folks in the area can prosper. I know sometimes we’re accused, saying we’re trying to do too much but we’re not. There’s great room for everybody, and this is such a growing part of the country. We love it.”
The move comes roughly a year after Parton pulled out of plans to build a $50 million water and snow park in Nashville with the company that owns the Opryland Hotel.