Plans for Ghost Town property begin to emerge

There is perhaps no parcel of land in Haywood County that generates as much interest as the one that’s home to long-shuttered mountaintop amusement park Ghost Town in the Sky, but as social media misinformation continues to arise, the property’s developers are now revealing tantalizing details of the incredibly complex plan for the venture and the progress that’s already been made. 

Swain tourism agency plans for new website

Swain County Tourism Development Authority plans to take another step toward separating itself from the Chamber of Commerce after the board of directors decided to invest money into a new website. 

Moment to shine: Outdoor economy conference focuses on widening the base

In the wake of COVID-19, 2020 has been a banner year for the outdoor recreation economy, and throughout the month of October the third annual Outdoor Economy Conference focused its lens on making the most of this moment. 

“What we have to do as an industry, and as an outdoor economy, as a region, is to not lose that — don’t miss that opportunity,” said conference organizer Noah Wilson, director of sector development for Mountain BizWorks. “That was that was definitely an intentional theme of the conference.”

Smokies seeks solutions to overcrowding

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has gotten a lot busier since its creation in 1931. In 1932, its first full year of existence, the park received only 300,000 visitors — these days, annual visitation is more than 40 times that figure, coming in at 12.5 million last year. 

Pandemic multiplies demand, complicates operations for outdoor businesses

As the Coronavirus Pandemic continues, people worldwide are rediscovering the outdoors in a big way — leading to record visitation at public lands in Western North Carolina and offering a marked boost to outdoor-oriented businesses and communities even as the nationwide economy continues to suffer. However, even this successful sector has met its share of challenges related to labor market shortages, supply chain disruptions and the sheer challenge of making up for revenue lost during full-on closures this spring.

Businesses adapt to survive pandemic

Despite the setbacks and challenges the COVID-19 Pandemic brought about in March, a surprising number of businesses in different industries have been able to weather the storm with quick-thinking, innovative changes to their operations. In some cases, businesses have made a full rebound and are reporting their best numbers ever. 

Haywood businesses become COVID-resilient

By Boyd Allsbrook • Contributing writer | When the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns hit Haywood County in March, business owners braced for the worst. Some closed their doors forever, while others scrambled for ways to reopen under the new normal. Months later, local entrepreneurs were able to give a retrospective on how they survived and changed with the times. 

Jackson businesses find their place in the post-pandemic world

Lured by the promise of drivable, socially distanced adventure, visitors from across the region have flocked to Jackson County in record numbers this year.

Macon merchants adapt during pandemic to stay open

During the initial pandemic panic back in March, many merchants in Macon County closed up shop while they tried to reassess all their plans for 2020. 

Swain businesses survive, thrive during pandemic

Swain County’s economy relies heavily on the tourism industry from outdoor recreation businesses to downtown retailers, restaurants and the railroad. 

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