Choctaws investing in Pigeon Forge

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The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians will team up with two other tribes to develop a high-end hotel in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have teamed with DreamCatcher to develop the AAA-rated Four Diamond hotel, it was announced last week. 

These tribes are regarded as among the most successful Native American tribes in the Southeastern United States, officials said in announcing the deal.

“Although this is not an investment here on our tribal lands, it is an opportunity for us, along with the other tribes, to diversify our business portfolio,” said Chief Cyrus Ben of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. 

“This is yet another step in Choctaw self-determination. With this capital investment, our goal is to generate revenue to benefit the tribe as a whole. As our Tribe grows, so should our business interests.”

Located in a mecca of tourism and natural beauty, DreamCatcher Hotel — Pigeon Forge is projected to become one of the top-rated and desired lodging properties within the Smoky Mountains.

“We are thrilled about our partnership with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians,” stated Zeke Cooper, president of DreamCatcher Franchise Development. 

“The Pigeon Forge property launches a new milestone in our company, opening as the first hotel under our brand name. Our tribal partners share our bold vision of developing and investing in unique and innovative hospitality properties, located in areas we know people want to visit. We are excited and humbled by their investment and trust. Our goal is to create significant returns for each tribe’s members.”

The unprecedented partnership and investment add diversity to each of the tribes already-successful economic development portfolios. From gaming and hospitality properties to cattle farms and construction firms, the tribes are known for their business expertise and accomplishments. Revenue generated from their investment will financially benefit their tribal operations and members for generations to come.

“On behalf of the Tribal Council of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, I’m excited to be part of this historic development, which I am confident will continue to secure the economic future of our Tribal Members and drive economic prosperity for many years to come. The Seminole Tribe has deep experience in owning and operating hotels, and we are very familiar with Pigeon Forge, a market that attracts millions of vacationers, conventions, weddings and athletic tournaments each year,” stated Chairman Marcellus Osceola of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Tourism to the area escalated before the pandemic and analysts now predict a quick return of tourist activity to pre-pandemic levels. 

The property features 12,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, an idyllic rooftop restaurant and lounge, and 200 guest rooms. 

The hotel site is strategically located within the heart of dining, shopping and excursion options while also sitting adjacent to the Leconte Center and the Cal Ripken Baseball/Softball Experience.

“The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are proud to partner with our sister tribes, The Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians on this inaugural project,” said Principal Chief Richie Sneed of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. 

“It is our hope that this will be but one of many economic development projects our tribes can partner on, helping to secure the financial future of our tribes. We are grateful for the opportunity as well as the partnership with DreamCatcher as the project developer.”

DreamCatcher develops high-end affordable hotels in choice tourism destinations and Pigeon Forge fits perfectly into that model. 

“DreamCatcher is proud of its long history of successful business relationships with various Native American tribes and is excited to bring these three leaders together to create this first-time partnership,” officials said. 

DreamCatcher Hotel – Pigeon Forge is the first in a series of new branded hotels DreamCatcher intends to franchise over the next five years. 

The property will open in the summer of 2023.


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