Dolly Parton, who was honored as one of National Geographic's 2024 Travelers of the Year, revealed from where the inspiration behind the Dollywood Theme Park came from.
During an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, Parton shared that the idea for Dollywood Theme Park came from what she considers "the most perfect place that God has created."
The Jolene singer said, "Well, we’re lucky to be in the part of the world that I believe is just absolutely the most perfect place that God has created."
"So we just look outside the window and those big, beautiful Smoky Mountains provide all the inspiration we could ever dream of finding," she added.
Parton also emphasized that, in addition to the environment, the people play a key role in making Dollywood charming.
She said, "The smokies and the wonderful people who work here are what make Dollywood so different than many of the other theme parks around the world, we’re right on the front porch of the most-visited national park in the country."
"So we take what God gave us and use it to dream up the big dreams we want our guests to experience while they are here riding rides and making memories," Parton added.
The 78-year-old singer and actress also mentioned her new resort, HeartSong Lodge & Resort, "is designed so our guests can be close to nature; it almost feels like the Smokies have found a way to come right on inside."
Parton further unveiled that, in terms of her own travel philosophy, she follows to the Golden Rule.
The There Was Jesus singer explained, "Treat others the way you want to be treated. Whether you’re hosting someone in your home we call our Dollywood employees hosts because they are hosting our guests every single day in our home or you’re a guest in their home."
"You should always treat them with love and compassion whether you’ve known them for 50 years or 5 minutes, I also think everyone should enjoy the journey. That’s where some of your best memories are created and you usually find the inspiration for your next big dream," Parton added.
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