The city of Branson (population 10,520; with millions of visitors annually and growing) is located in southwest Missouri, 35 miles south of Springfield within the heart of the Ozark Hills. Branson serves as the job, service and shopping center for a two-county area with 80,000 year round residents. Branson is surrounded by three prize winning fishing lakes – Taneycomo, Table Rock and Bull Shoals. The city has an incorporated boundary of over 21 square miles. The city has become the focus of international attention as both a major development area and an entertainment and tourism Mecca. The reasons are numerous and range from the scenic natural beauty of the area to the star studded theaters along Highway 76 with their variety of live entertainment options as well as other family oriented entertainment offerings.
Tourism is the Branson/Lakes Area’s chief industry. Situated within a day’s drive of 25% of the U.S. population, Branson and the Tri-Lakes Area serve millions of visitors each year who pump $1.7 billion dollars into the local economy. Branson is ranked 20th among all overnight leisure vacation destinations in the country. On a 1 to 5 rating scale, visitor satisfaction measures a 4.63.
A geographical profile of Branson visitors shows: 19% come from 100 miles or less; 22% come from 101-300 miles away; and 59% come from outside a 300 mile radius.
Scenic U.S. Highway 65, a north-south highway, is the main route to Branson with over 70% of motorists coming from the north through Springfield.
The Springfield/Branson National Airport (SGF) is 42 miles from Branson and serves all of southwest Missouri with 65 daily flights connecting to eight international airports via six airlines.
The Taney County Airport, a general aviation airport with a 3,739-foot runway, is located one mile south of Branson.
The first privately financed and operated commercial airport in the country began operations in the Branson area in the spring of 2009. Branson Regional Airport, located south of the city, has a 7,140-foot runway to accommodate all types of commercial aircraft, making Branson even more accessible. Direct commercial air service is available to 10 destinations through Frontier Airlines and AirTran Airways, which will hand over Branson Operations to Southwest Airlines on March 9, 2013.
CITY ROAD IMPROVEMENTS
The city has taken the lead in ensuring a pleasant visit by adding new roads in the area. Since 1991, an estimated $42 million has been spent on more than 20 miles of new and reconstructed roads. This network of new and improved streets has been designed to work in concert with enhancements to state highways to ease the visitor’s ability to get to and around the popular Highway 76, which is the address of hundreds of theaters, hotels, restaurants and family attractions.
Branson is home to over 40 music theaters with over 50,000 seats. The variety of music includes country, pop, gospel, bluegrass, western, rock ‘n roll, classical jazz and Broadway. There’s also comedy, magic and variety to provide visitors a wide array of entertainment choices.
The Branson/Lakes Area is home to three scenic lakes offering fishing, boating, parasailing, jet skiing and swimming. While the lakes all offer great fishing for novice and professional anglers, each has its specialty. Table Rock Lake offers world-class bass fishing. Lake Taneycomo, with its cold waters, offers superb trout fishing. Bull Shoals Lake is also an anglers’ paradise, especially for tournament bass fishing.
Located in the rolling Ozark Hills, the Branson/Lakes Area is ideal for canoeing, camping, hiking, biking, bird watching and simply wandering through the hills. World-class golf courses provide golfing opportunities for the scratch player and novice alike. The Branson/Lakes Area is dedicated to enhancing it natural environment and preserving its lakes and waterways.
Thirteen golf courses, eight of which are Championship golf courses, are currently open in the Branson/Lakes Area. Golfing is one of the fastest-growing interests of vacationers, who can enjoy their favorite sport on a choice of courses within just a few miles of each other. Country clubs, pro shops, lessons, restaurants and all amenities are available. And who knows, you may see a familiar face or two teeing off on the next fairway. Many of Branson’s entertainers enjoy golf and occasionally can be seen on local courses.
Visitors consistently rank shopping among the most popular activities of the area. Branson’s newest landmark, Branson Landing, is a $420 million, 95-acre development along Lake Taneycomo blending more than 100 retail shops with dining, luxury lodging, river walk, town square, marinas and nightlife into a dynamic waterfront setting.
Branson is home to two outlet shopping malls as well as the Grand Village and other unique shopping areas. Visitors can find contemporary clothing, Ozarks crafts, gift items, house wares, designer shoes, luggage and a myriad of other treasures throughout the year.
Historic Downtown Branson is also a shopper and diner’s delight. Dick’s Old Fashioned 5 & 10, several boutiques and dozens of specialty stores combined with quaint eateries make the downtown area truly special.
LODGING AND RESTAURANTS
More than 16,000 rooms are available in Branson motels, hotels, resorts, bed and breakfast inns and condominiums. Visitors have an endless variety of restaurants and food establishments from which to choose. There are over 125 restaurants with over 30,000 seats.
NEW CONVENTION CENTER
The Branson Convention center opened in 2007 making Branson an attractive destination for meetings and business gatherings. Located next to Branson Landing, on the shores of Lake Taneycomo, the center can accommodate up to 6,500 attendees. A wide range of services includes a 50,000 square foot exhibition hall, a 23,000 square foot ballroom, meeting rooms, complete onsite catering, top-tier audio-visual services, event management and a business center. The convention center is connected to the Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel, a 12-story luxury hotel with 294 rooms and suites.