Editorial: Friendliness a highlight of the Smokies

Jul. 30, 2014 @ 01:52 PM

Summer can be tough for the people of Sevier County.

Long work hours, longer waits at your favorite restaurants, traffic jams and slow moving vehicles — usually with out-of-state license plates — are all part of our daily lives from May to early September.

They may be inconveniences, but we should smile through it all.

Our area consistently ranks among the nation's top spots for family summer vacations. Those tourists — and the business they bring to our community — are the lifeblood of Sevier County's vibrant economy.

We consistently hear from visitors about the friendly locals and the "Southern hospitality."

Those comments are echoed in online reviews, something any business owner would tell you are critical to a successful business in the 21st century.

n "(The) best part was the Southern hospitality we got when we checked in and while we stayed," one reviewer on Tripadvisor.com wrote about a local cabin company. "The front desk clerk Daisy was so sweet and helpful no matter how many times I came to the office asking questions. She was patient with a smile."

n "The staff kindly asked us to wait while they put tables together for us," another reviewer wrote of a pancake house. "The breakfast was delicious. We had traveled eight hours at night to get there and we were not disappointed. The Southern-style breakfast really hit the spot. Our large party was accommodated in every way by the friendly staff."

n "Great roller coasters!" one wrote of Dollywood, "Excellent staff who love their job!"

Less than a month ago, we got a call from an Indiana family that had experienced car trouble in Sevierville and were blown away by the friendly, caring service they received from every business they dealt with.

Stories like that are not uncommon.

The people of the Great Smoky Mountains are famous for their hospitality toward visitors, and it's something many of our local accommodations, restaurants and lodging facilities also excel at delivering. 

Good hospitality is remembered even better, however, when it comes from everyday citizens — not just from businesses our visitors are paying for services.

"(It's) absolutely my favorite place to visit!" a guest wrote of Pigeon Forge. "(A) beautiful, friendly town! Love it here!"

We should be proud of comments like this. This area's success is as much about its people as it is the land itself.