Travel agents urge tourists to call about reservations in TN mou - FOX Carolina 21

Travel agents urge tourists to call about reservations in TN mountains

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AAA travel agents getting calls about booked trips to TN mountains. (FOX Carolina/ Nov. 29, 2016) AAA travel agents getting calls about booked trips to TN mountains. (FOX Carolina/ Nov. 29, 2016)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Winds whipped around embers that sparked flames which gave life to a wildfire and other fires. Now, those fires are taking over areas of Gatlinburg. The area is a popular tourist spot for visitors who want to experience the fall foliage in the mountains and at Dollywood, which is located in Pigeon Forge.

"Each year that park gets over 10 million visitors in a year-a lot really go in the Fall," Mark Blonstein said. He's a travel agent with AAA of the Carolinas in Greenville.

"That is a huge season for that area because of the Christmas decorations and the lighted towns," Blonstein said.

But there are reports that fire damaged or destroyed at least 30 buildings including a 16-story hotel which also forced the Great Smoky Mountains
National Park to close.

"Some of those lodges are no longer with us. So, can we change that reservation? It depends on the accommodations that will be available when they say it's OK to go back in," Blonstein said. "Well now with the fires in the mountains, people call- you know, should I go?"

Blonstein says agents received a bulletin which asked visitors to stay away from the Gatlinburg, TN area.

"Those plans, we just have to cancel them for now," Blonstein said.

But, agents are expecting some visitors form Tennessee.

"Can I get to Asheville? Can I get to Greenville? We're close, we're kind of a respite- a rescue station for what's going on up there," Blonstein said.

And the one visitor most want to see is more rain.

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