Monday, January 30, 2012

Dolly Parton Set to Open New Water-Snow Park in Nashville

DollywoodThe Queen of Country herself, Dolly Parton, is set to open up yet another attraction in Tennessee, though this time the park will be a little different. The new park is something called a water-snow park and is being described as the first of its kind in the country. The park is set to open in Nashville and will join Parton's many other Tennessee attractions.

Announced on Thursday, the same day as the singer's 66th birthday, the new $50 million park is 114 acres and is believed to be opening in the summer of 2014. According to a statement from Parton, "I'm not a bit afraid of competing with myself. They are far enough apart. I live in Nashville, so it's natural for me to have two working places."

The new water-snow park will be a partnership with Gaylord Entertainment, the same company that owns the vast Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center as well as the Grand Ole Opry county music show also located in Nashville. During the first full season of the park, 500,000 visitors are expected and the park will use 450 full and part-time employees.

As far as details go, there aren't many. Chairman and CEO of Gaylord Entertainment stated that there will be special winter festivities as well as "lots of music" and that an additional 35 acres have already been purchased in the event of expansion. Dollywood and Splash Country bring in around 4 million visitors each year. The park opened back in 1986 with the water park opening in 2001. In addition to those parks, Parton owns the Dixie Stampede dinner theater located in Pigeon Forge.

Being a winter park as well as a summer, there are concerns that the cold winter weather may hinder attendance. However, as far as Parton is concerned, "Unless there's a blizzard, we'll be ready for 'em." Reed also added that he believes the new park will help increase attendance at Parton's other attractions as well.

Overall, thoughts on the project are positive with Reed and Parton describing their partnership as a 50-50 with no worries about financing. "We have a strong balance sheet and an icon like Dolly with us," Reed said and Tennessee Governor Bill Hastlam added, "The idea is a big one. If you think about it, the state lives off sales tax. And this will be something that will mean new dollars for Tennessee."

Source: Detroit Free Press - Dolly Parton plans water, snow park
CBS News - Dolly Parton plans Nashville water/snow park is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Air Travel Set to Increase in 2012 Along with Airfares

Airport Bag CheckAccording to a hypothesis by, an airport parking aggregator, the new year means new opportunities for travel, and U.S. travelers are going to take to traveling via air a lot more in 2012. Air travel in the United States increased around 6% in 2011 and that increase is likely to continue well into 2012 as U.S. citizens schedule more trips and increase their overall travel budgets. has seen an upturn in reservations in many different markets. Owners believe that the increased air travel trend will also be supported by increased enplanement figures at a lot of the major airports when they are released by the Department of Transportation later in the year. TripAdvisor's annual travel trends survey saw 79% of participants saying they will spend a minimum of $3,000 on travel in 2012 with 57% saying they will spend $5,000. These increased budgets will be essential since airfares are predicted to increase with the decrease in airlines on the market.

The second quarter of 2011 foreshadowed the higher ticket prices when the average domestic airfare increased by 8.5% over 2010 to $370 per ticket. In addition to that, American Airlines' recent bankruptcy announcement illustrates the industry's financial burdens, which will continue to take their toll on travelers in the form of increased ticket prices.

New mileage-based fees will also go into effect in 2012, which will only serve to further increase ticket prices. The good news is that the Department of Transportation's new rules on disclosing all airline fees upfront are scheduled to begin in the next few months, so passengers will no longer be unaware of all the "extras" they are paying for.

The economy is in the toilet and airfare prices are increasing, but that isn't stopping hard-working Americans from going on some well-deserved vacations this year. Maybe the economy is doing slightly better, allowing for these increased vacation allowances, or maybe people just don't care about money because they believe that the world is going to end this year? Hopefully it isn't the latter.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle - 2012 Air Travel Forecast Predicts Increases in Travel and Airfares

Sunday, January 1, 2012

United Kingdom Most Popular Travel Destination in 2011

United Kingdom2011 is over and 2012 has begun! The old year went out with a bang, the same way the new year started, but just because 2011 is over doesn't mean that it is forgotten. Citizens of Planet Earth did a lot of traveling last year to places all over the world but only one place could top the list as the most popular travel destination of 2011. While you may think that places like the Caribbean, the Bahamas or some other tropical place would be the most popular, it seems most travelers disagree because the most popular travel destination of 2011 was Britain, according to a study done by Expedia.

Travel to Britain saw a 10% increase in 2011 over 2010 and it appears as if the trend of domestic breaks is poised to continue strong in 2012 as well. Lots of new things to do in the region, like local culinary tours and cooking classes, as well as the increase in local bicycle shops, like Boris Bikes in London, are encouraging people to explore the country in new and exciting ways.

Andy Washington, Managing Director of Expedia UK and Ireland, stated, "It has been an eventful year for the travel industry and a tough year for certain popular travel destinations, but we've noticed time and time again that people tend to forego their annual holiday. It's encouraging to see that Brits are taking advantage of the multitude of attractions closer to home in the UK and embracing 'staycations'. 2011 has highlighted the mixed approach to holidaying taken by Brits in troubled times."

Washington also added, "As some are drawn to holidaying at home, others simply look for alternative destinations - with Spain and Turkey particularly growing in popularity during the Arab Spring. The other notable trend was deal hunting - with savvy travelers taking advantage of the great deals to be had in destinations like Egypt and Japan as these destinations recover. Yet what's absolutely clear is our determination to keep our holidays."

Expedia's study listed the top 10 traveling destinations for 2011 as:

  1. Southern UK regions

  2. London

  3. New York

  4. Paris

  5. Las Vegas

  6. Rome

  7. Amsterdam

  8. Barcelona

  9. Regional Northern France

  10. Edinburgh

Trends are supposed to continue strong into 2012, maybe because a vast majority of the population believes that the world is going to "end" this year. It seems that all these doomsdayers are trying to accomplish what they can before the Mayan calendar wipes us all out.

Source: Travel News - The UK topped most popular destination for travelers in 2011

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