GATLINBURG, TN, December 9, 2016 – After working around the clock since last week’s devastating wildfire, Westgate Resorts is reopening the first phase of the resort tomorrow. In total, 652 units and 70 of the 90 buildings at Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort were destroyed in the wildfire; however, 352 units and many of the amenities were unaffected by the blaze, including the resort’s 60,000 sq.ft. Wild Bear Falls Indoor Water Park, Marketplace, fitness center, swimming pool and original check-in building. The resort is now accepting Smoky Mountain owner reservations by calling 800-413-0923.
Reconstruction of the damaged units is already underway and “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 unprecedented reconstruction project will serve not only to allow Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort – the largest resort and biggest employer in the area – to resume the return of owners and guests to the resort in a timely manner, but also help protect the jobs of resort employees throughout the holidays and beyond. Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort has a substantial economic impact in the surrounding community amounting to more than $28 million in the first 10 months of 2016 and employs approximately 1,100 team members throughout the region.
Siegel acknowledged “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.”
At least 20 Westgate team members lost homes in the wildfire, along with the hundreds of other homes lost in the local community. Westgate has embarked on a nationwide fundraising campaign to assist any individuals who lost homes in the community resulting from the wildfire. For more information, visit www.westgateresortsfoundation.org. In addition, Westgate has initiated an Adopt-A-Family Program for Westgate team members to personally assist anyone in the community who was impacted by the wildfire and need help with basic needs or holiday gifts.
Westgate also plans to host a Grand Opening Celebration at Smoky Mountain Opry Theater on Wednesday, December 14, 2016, from 11:30a.m. – 1p.m. to celebrate Westgate team members and first responders whose courageous actions saved many lives during the wildfire. Immediately after the celebration, a Media Reception will be held at 1:30 p.m. at the Wild Bear Falls Indoor Water Park at Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort. For more information about the latest updates regarding Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa reconstruction efforts, visit www.WestgateResorts.com.
About Westgate Resorts
Founded in 1982 by David A. Siegel, Westgate Resorts is one of the largest resort developers in the United States. Westgate features 28 themed destination resorts with over 13,000 luxury villas in premier locations throughout the United States. Most Westgate Resorts locations feature a variety of unique restaurant, retail and spa concepts, including the Drafts Sports Bar & Grill, Westgate Smokehouse Grill, Edge Steakhouse and Serenity Spa by Westgate. For more information about Westgate Resorts, visit www.westgateresorts.com.