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Branson welcomes tourist back for 2021 spring break season.

Last March, COVID-19 lockdowns canceled many families’ spring break plans to visit Branson. Streets, restaurants, shows, and stores that were normally packed with tourists were experiencing the slowest spring break they’ve seen in many years. 

Now, families across the country are flocking to Ozark Mountain Country this month for spring break, giving local businesses the biggest boom they’ve seen in more than a year. 

The sudden increase in tourism can be attributed to many things such as new marketing styles to encourage people to come to the area and an eagerness to travel, according to  Jason Outman, president/CEO of the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce & CVB.

“We are running a road trip campaign and the road trip campaign is encouraging those in our drive market to come out and visit,” said Outman.

The drive market they are campaigning to is those within a 300-mile radius of the area, as commercial travel is more difficult than in years past, according to the chamber.

According to Outman, the chamber is seeing the eagerness to travel stemming from pent up demand. 

“I think what we are seeing is again the opportunity to say, ‘you know what, we’ve seen Branson can do it, we’ve seen Branson can do it safe, and so why do we continue to just be locked in our house?’”

In February, Forbes Magazine released an article listing the top ten best places in America to travel right now and avoid the pandemic.  Branson was listed as No.4, which has encouraged spring break travel.

“It helped showcase not just the great things that Branson has to do, but how the region really prepared visitors in a safe manner,” said Outman. “When you have a major media magazine calling you out saying, ‘Branson is a great place to go, to have a lot of fun, to have that true vacation sense but to stay safe at the same time,’ I think that really helped contribute to it.”

According to Outman, the chamber is really excited for the increase in tourism across the area.

 

“I can tell you the excitement level is definitely there,” said Outman. “The business owners that we’ve talked to, whether it is a restaurant, whether it is a hotel, an attraction, the theaters, they are really excited with where spring break has been, and obviously the hope that it will continue to grow.”

Small businesses in the area are also seeing a large increase in tourism, which has impacted their business for the better, and has created new record sales for many. Vintage Paris, a coffee shop located right outside of Branson, is one local business that has seen the effects of a busy spring break.

According to Matt Farmer, owner of Vintage Paris, spring break 2020 was the beginning of their decline in revenue. However, after moving to their new location, located at 5900 Historic State Hwy 165, they have been topping all previous records.

“I’m projecting this to be another record-breaking month, with Spring Break being no exception to that,” said Farmer.

According to Farmer, between their location now being closer to the lake and the increase in tourism, they are seeing more tourists and non-locals come into their business and are breaking all previous records as spring break occurs.

Steamy Joe Café, a new bakery and breakfast restaurant, located at 224 W Main St., are also enjoying the rise in tourism, as it is their first busy season here in Branson. Anticipating spring break 2020, owners Randy and Ruth Ryel opened Steamy Joe Café on March 16, 2020.

“It turned (out) that our timing wasn’t so ideal. There was hardly a car in sight on 76 Hwy/Main Street in those early months,” said Randy Ryel. 

A year later, Ryel said the café is busier than ever this year.

“(It) is the complete opposite of last year; breaking all previous weekly sales records for Steamy Joe Café,” said Ryel.

According to the Ryel’s, they are encouraged that Branson tourism seems to be bouncing back strong. 

Restaurants aren’t the only businesses seeing positive impacts due to spring break. Attractions, stores, and hotels are experiencing a boom. Scott “Scooter” Rowley, owner of Greatest Adventure Mini Golf and Scooter’s Sports Grill, said they are working hard to keep up with the number of people visiting their properties. 

“This year spring break has been insanely busy,” Scooter said. “We’re going through products faster than we ever have.” 

Both the golf course and the restaurant are consistently busy, but Scooter said he is thankful for the increase in tourism because it has contributed to bringing them back up after a year of COVID. 

Hotels such as the Hotel Grand Victorian are also experiencing high volumes of people and more capacity over spring break.

Steve Scherer, vice president and general manager said they are excited to see their hotel open back up after COVID.

“There’s been a great uptick in business,” said Scherer. “It has been outstanding through people wanting to get out and about. It’s exceeded our expectations.”

Scherer said he is thankful for the increase in tourism positively affecting his hotel by bringing up their revenue, keeping their doors open, and bringing their employees back.

“We’re really looking forward to an outstanding year, and it’s great to be open,” said Scherer.

“I can tell you the excitement level is definitely there,” said Outman. “The business owners that we’ve talked to, whether it is a restaurant, whether it is a hotel, an attraction, the theaters, they are really excited with where spring break has been, and obviously the hope that it will continue to grow.”

Small businesses in the area are also seeing a large increase in tourism, which has impacted their business for the better, and has created new record sales for many. Vintage Paris, a coffee shop located right outside of Branson, is one local business that has seen the effects of a busy spring break.

According to Matt Farmer, owner of Vintage Paris, spring break 2020 was the beginning of their decline in revenue. However, after moving to their new location, located at 5900 Historic State Hwy 165, they have been topping all previous records.

“I’m projecting this to be another record-breaking month, with Spring Break being no exception to that,” said Farmer.

According to Farmer, between their location now being closer to the lake and the increase in tourism, they are seeing more tourists and non-locals come into their business and are breaking all previous records as spring break occurs.

Steamy Joe Café, a new bakery and breakfast restaurant, located at 224 W Main St., are also enjoying the rise in tourism, as it is their first busy season here in Branson. Anticipating spring break 2020, owners Randy and Ruth Ryel opened Steamy Joe Café on March 16, 2020.

“It turned (out) that our timing wasn’t so ideal. There was hardly a car in sight on 76 Hwy/Main Street in those early months,” said Randy Ryel. 

A year later, Ryel said the café is busier than ever this year.

“(It) is the complete opposite of last year; breaking all previous weekly sales records for Steamy Joe Café,” said Ryel.

According to the Ryel’s, they are encouraged that Branson tourism seems to be bouncing back strong. 

Restaurants aren’t the only businesses seeing positive impacts due to spring break. Attractions, stores, and hotels are experiencing a boom. Scott “Scooter” Rowley, owner of Greatest Adventure Mini Golf and Scooter’s Sports Grill, said they are working hard to keep up with the number of people visiting their properties. 

“This year spring break has been insanely busy,” Scooter said. “We’re going through products faster than we ever have.” 

Both the golf course and the restaurant are consistently busy, but Scooter said he is thankful for the increase in tourism because it has contributed to bringing them back up after a year of COVID. 

Hotels such as the Hotel Grand Victorian are also experiencing high volumes of people and more capacity over spring break.

Steve Scherer, vice president and general manager said they are excited to see their hotel open back up after COVID.

“There’s been a great uptick in business,” said Scherer. “It has been outstanding through people wanting to get out and about. It’s exceeded our expectations.”

Scherer said he is thankful for the increase in tourism positively affecting his hotel by bringing up their revenue, keeping their doors open, and bringing their employees back.

“We’re really looking forward to an outstanding year, and it’s great to be open,” said Scherer.

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