Eastern Cherokee Band at Puy du Fou Talks Sevier County Attraction

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is discussing a potential partnership with an international theme park as part of a world-class entertainment search to anchor a Sevier County development.

Representatives of French entertainment company Puy du Fou they will meet with tribal leaders in person this week, according to a press release.

The 200-acre development is located off Interstate 40 at Exit 407, Tennessee’s main gateway to Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The property, called “The 407: Gateway to Adventure,” is also the future home of a massive Buc-ee travel center.

based in Knoxville Original Equipment Experiences is leading the tribe’s global search for “ideal experiences to anchor entertainment-focused aspects of development,” according to the statement.

Now is the perfect time to invest in Sevier County. The national park broke attendance records in 2021 and Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are the top family vacation destinations in the United States.

The development is owned and operated by Kituwah, LLC, a subsidiary of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

What is Puy du Fou?

Based in western France, Puy du Fou is known for its immersive theatrical performances and history-inspired shows. It has parks in France and Spain and will present a new show in Shanghai this year.

Philippe de Villiers, who ran as a nationalist candidate in the 2007 French presidential election, founded the organization in 1978.

An immersive show at its park in France, ‘Le Mystère de La Pérouse’, takes visitors on board a scientific expedition on the high seas where they feel the movement of the boat and the ocean spray as they venture into the interactive exhibit.

real estate offers: Nearly $6 billion in Knox County properties changed hands in 2021.

Tourism: A major sporting event is coming to Knoxville, the equivalent of the “Super Bowl”

TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice named Puy du Fou the second largest amusement park in the world in 2020. Themed Entertainment Association named a show at Puy du Fou the best in the world in 2016 and 2017.

More than 2.3 million people visited the original French theme park in 2019, according to a company press kit.

What is 407 development?

Richard Sneed, senior chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, previously told Knox News the tribe would build retail stores, hotels and restaurants on 198 acres south of the highway. It is on this property that the Buc-ee will be built.

The tribe also purchased 122 acres on the north side of the highway and adjacent to Kodak Smokies Stadium. The tribe spent about $21 million on the two properties combined.

Project partners have estimated that the property could attract 6.7 million visitors in the first full year of operation after the end of the first phase of development.

Buc-ee’s is a Texas-based travel center chain known for its clean restrooms and barbecue grills.

Business Growth and Development Editor Brenna McDermott can be reached at [email protected] Support our local news efforts become a subscriber to Knox News.

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Eastern Cherokee Band at Puy du Fou Talks Sevier County Attraction

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