Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort Reopens After Catastrophic Wildfire


After a catastrophic wildfire broke out throughout Gatlinburg a couple weeks ago, Westgate Resorts has been working around the clock to pull its Smoky Mountain Resort back together. The first phase of the resort reopened this past Saturday, December 10th after 652 units and 70 of the 90 buildings were destroyed. There were, however, 352 units that went untouched, as well as most of the resort’s signature amenities including the 60,000 sq. ft. Wild Bear Falls Indoor Water Park, Marketplace, fitness center, swimming pool, and original check-in building.

“The property will be rebuilt to an even better standard than before,” according to David Siegel, president and CEO of Westgate Resorts. “We appreciate the continued support of our team members, vendors, local authorities and community as we face all the challenges of the rebuilding process. Spirits are very high and everyone is pitching in to make sure we reopen the resort as quickly as possible and get everyone back to work again.”

The extensive, intensive reconstruction project is serving to benefit both the owners and guests of Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort, as well as helping preserve the jobs of its employees throughout the holiday season and into the new year. Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort, which is the largest resort and biggest employer in the area, employs approximately 1,100 team members throughout the region and generates more than $28 million of revenue in the first 10 months of 2016.

Siegel recognized “the tremendous support of our entire family of Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa owners, guests and team members during this challenging time. In particular, we are thankful for our dedicated Westgate team members who evacuated more than 900 guests from the resort with very little notice and saved many lives that night from the wildfire, as well as the courageous first responders who helped safely evacuate guests at our resort and throughout the community. The fact that none of our guests or team members were injured in the tragedy is a miracle and reflects strongly on the outstanding team at Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort and the first responders. You can be assured that the resort will be back bigger and more beautiful than ever, and we look forward to serving our owners and guests for years to come.”

As a result of the wildfire, at least 20 Westgate team members lost their homes, along with hundreds of other homes lost in the local community. Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort has hosted a nationawide fundraising campaign, Westgate Resorts Foundation, to assist any individuals who lost homes in the community. Westgate also initiated an Adopt-A-Family program for employees of Westgate to assist anyone in the community who was affected by the wildfire by offering help with basic needs or holiday gifts.

The Grand Opening Celebration will be held at Smoky Mountain Opry Theater on Wednesday, Dec. 14, from 11:30 am to 1 pm. The ceremony is a celebration of the Westgate team members and first responders who helped save thousands of lives during the wildfire. After the celebration, a media reception will be held at 1:30 pm at the Wild Bear Falls Indoor Water Park.

Stay up to date with Westgate Resorts and their progress rebuilding the Smoky Mountain Resort by visiting their website.