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Branson leaders, business owners reflect on successful summer season

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 4:48 PM CDT
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - Branson business owners are having a very successful summer season. More people are getting out of their houses and flocking to the tourist town.

There is still some concern about Branson being a “hot spot” tourist destination as COVID-19 cases rise throughout southwest Missouri, but it’s not stopping people from visiting the many attractions throughout the city.

Grant Sloan, vice president of the Branson Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitors Bureau, said business is spiking compared to 2019.

“We’re up 25% year to date in our taxing district compared to 2019,” Sloan said.

Sloan said businesses are also having record weekends this summer.

”We know we’re making up for lost time, but it’s just really exciting to see this kind of traction and this many people coming and seeing Branson, some of them for the very first time,” Sloan said.

As more people gather in what’s considered a hot spot destination, Sloan said they stand with Gov. Mike Parson’s stance on vaccines.

”We stand with the governor whenever he said that vaccines are the best way to fight COVID-19, and we think that people are enjoying Branson as a safe place and coming to vacation, knowing it’s a drive to destination,” Sloan said.

Shepherd of the Hills General Manager Jeff Johnson said he’s also seeing thousands of visitors each day.

”I don’t think anyone would have guessed that it would’ve been as strong as it’s been to date, and just so non-stop,” Jeff Johnson said.

Johnson said they were fortunate to have more business as an outdoor venue last year than most.

”We’ve got 160 acres or so on the original homestead, so we’ve got a lot of room for people to spread out even though it gets a little crowded in the parking lots and some of the lines. It’s just a little more room than most places have to spread out,” Johnson said.

He says, despite the increase in visitors, staffing is still a huge concern for many Branson businesses.

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