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Branson/Lakes Area 2010 Fact Sheet – Revised 2/25/11
Branson, Missouri is situated in Southwest Missouri, 35 miles south of Springfield.
Branson is ranked 25th among all overnight leisure vacation destinations in the country.
2010 Tourism Impact
- Estimated 8 million visitors in 2010 (+3.0% vs. 2009)
- Tourism is the Branson/Lakes Area’s chief industry, with an estimated $3.1 billion in tourism-related spending in Taney and Stone counties in 2010
2010 Visitor Information
- 37.5% of visitors were families
- 62.5% of visitors were adults
- 87% travelled to Branson via personal vehicle
- 8.7% travelled to Branson by air
- 4.3% travelled to Branson via RV/Camper
- Average adult age was 56.7 years
- Average party size was 3.88 persons
- Average amount spent per party was $892 per trip
- 19.0% of visitors came from 100 miles or less
- 24.8% of visitors came from 101-300 miles away
- 24.8% of visitors came from 301-650 miles away
- 31.5% of visitors came from 650+ miles away
- On a 1 to 5 rating scale, visitor satisfaction measured 4.46
City of Branson Facts
- Population: 10,520
- Square Miles: 20.7
- Total assessed property value: $468,546,090
242 restaurants with 37,048 seats
12 courses (7 Championship)
207 facilities with 22,000 rooms
100+ shows in 50 theatres with 64,057 seats (more theater seats than Broadway)
Branson is a year-round destination with most of the entertainment offerings open mid-March through the end of December. Throughout the year, large special events such as Ozark Mountain Spring (March – May), Veterans Homecoming (November) and Ozark Mountain Christmas (November and December) offer visitors a special reason to visit.
- 83.7% – Shopping
- 80.2% – Shows
- 51.6% – Lake/Outdoor Activities
- 31.0% – Theme Parks
- 4.8% – Golf
- 4.4% – Fishing
The Branson/Lakes Area offers 50 theaters and more than 100 shows. Audiences can see shows throughout the day – breakfast shows, matinees and evening performances. Country, pop, swing, rock n’ roll, gospel, classical and Broadway-style music and productions join comedy, acrobatics and magic shows to provide visitors a wide array of entertainment choices.
Branson’s entertainers began performing for audiences in the early 1950′s when country legend Red Foley moved to Springfield to host the “Ozark Jubilee.” In 1959, the Mabe Brothers began performing twice a week by the Lake Taneycomo waterfront. In 1960, a few miles east of Silver Dollar City, Bruce and Mary Trimble began staging an outdoor pageant based on the best-selling novel “The Shepherd of the Hills”; the production grew into the nation’s most popular outdoor historical drama and today boasts a cast of more than 80 actors, dozens of animals, pyrotechnical displays and authentic props and sets. In 1962, the Presley family began entertaining visitors in nearby Kimberling City. The Presleys built the first theater along Highway 76 (“The Strip”) in 1967, followed by the Mabe Brothers, now known as the Baldknobbers, who built their theater in 1968.
In 1970 Mutton Hollow Entertainment and Craft Village opened on west Highway 76; today, the site is home to Celebration City, one of the Silver Dollar City attractions. In the early 70′s The Foggy River Boys, The Plummer Family, Dolly Parton, Buck Trent, and Porter Wagoner performed in Branson; soon after, Japanese fiddler Shoji Tabuchi began his meteoric rise to Branson fame. Roy Clark opened a theater in 1983 and hosted Mel Tillis, Box Car Willie, Ray Stevens, and Jim Stafford. In 1985, the Snadon Family purchased the Shepherd of the Hills homestead, adding the 230-foot tall inspiration tower in 1989.
The great yearly tradition of Ozark Mountain Christmas was born in 1988, seasonally transforming Branson into a holiday wonderland featuring spectacular lighting displays, multiple shows celebrating Christmas, theme parks in all their holiday glory and numerous special events.
Time magazine ran an article on their “discovery” of Branson in August of 1991 that set off a chain reaction — The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times and People soon followed. On December 8, 1991, 60 Minutes proclaimed Branson the “live music capital of the entire universe.” There were only 22 theaters in operation; today, Branson has more than twice that many, due in part to that turning-point proclamation. Many agree that 60 Minutes launched Branson into a new era of growth by revealing to the world the wonderful playground of fun and entertainment this small southwest Missouri town had become. Performers, visitors, developers and new residents flocked to see what was going on.
Throughout the 1990′s and into the new millennium, Branson not only saw tremendous growth in the number of theatrical offerings, but in the number of hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, housing developments, service businesses, and healthcare facilities, as well. In 1992, the $13 million, 4,000-seat Grand Palace opened and was the largest of all the theaters in Branson. Over the next decade, such stars as Andy Williams, Wayne Newton, Barbara Mandrell, John Davidson, Tony Orlando, Bobby Vinton, Mel Tillis, Glen Campbell, Mickey Gilley, Charley Pride, the Lennon Sisters, the Osmond Brothers, Pat Boone, Pam Tillis and The Oak Ridge Boys took up residence in Branson.
In 2005, Silver Dollar City’s new PowderKeg explosive-launch roller coaster was named best family thrill ride on the planet by thrillride.com. The Branson Convention Center and Hilton Hotel broke ground. The New Shanghai Theatre was built for the Acrobats of China, and The Branson League of Theater Owners and Show Producers raised over $120,000 with a telethon concert for victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The City of Branson broke a 1993 record in new construction values, well over $120 million for the year.
In 2006, the Branson Landing opened, a $420 million, 95-acre lakefront development blending retail shopping, dining, luxury lodging, boardwalk, condominiums, a town plaza, several marinas, and nightlife into a dynamic, waterfront setting. Other exciting developments in Branson included the multi-million dollar TITANIC: The World’s Largest Museum Attraction, towering 100′ over the 76 Strip, with a permanent collection of 400 items; Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater starring Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers, Paul Revere & the Raiders and other ’50s and ’60s rock legends; ’57 Heaven, the world’s largest collection of 1957 automobiles; The Butterfly Palace and Rainforest adventure with more than 1,000 species of live tropical butterflies; and Chateau on the Lake Resort’s new $6 million European-style Spa Chateau, complete with 10 treatment rooms, in a picturesque setting overlooking Table Rock Lake.
Overlooking Lake Taneycomo and the Branson Landing, the new state-of-the art Branson Convention Center and adjoining 12-story Hilton Hotel opened in the fall of 2007. In 2008, groundbreaking also took place for the Sight & Sound Theatre, which features multi million dollar productions with Biblical themes such as ‘NOAH–The Musical.’ Peter Pan, the musical that earned an Emmy Award and a Tony Award nomination for Cathy Rigby, opened at the Mansion Theatre in May 2009.
Branson is home to three outlet shopping malls with more than 200 retailers. Visitors can find contemporary clothing, gift items, housewares, designer shoes, luggage and other treasures at reduced prices throughout the year at Tanger Outlets, Branson Meadows, or Factory Merchants. With 30 individually-owned shops, the Engler Block offers a whole world of Ozarks craftsmanship and artistry under one roof. Historic Downtown Branson is also a shopper and diner’s delight — Dick’s Old-Fashioned 5 & 10, countless boutiques and specialty stores combined with quaint eateries make the downtown area truly special. The new Branson Landing’s 100+ retail shops and lakefront dining establishments are just minutes away.
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, each has its specialty. Table Rock Lake offers world-class bass fishing; Lake Taneycomo, with its cold waters, offers superb trout fishing; and Bull Shoals Lake is a warm water angler’s paradise, especially for tournament bass fishing.
Located in the rolling Ozark Mountains, the Branson/Lakes Area is ideal for canoeing, camping, hiking, biking, birdwatching or simply wandering through the hills. World-class golf courses provide golf opportunities for the scratch player and novice alike. The Branson/Lakes Area is dedicated to enhancing its natural environment and preserving its lakes and waterways.
Branson is conveniently located within a day’s drive of more than 1/3 of the country’s population.
The Branson Airport, which is located approximately 8 miles south of Branson, began operation in May 2009. There are currently three airlines, AirTran, Frontier and Branson AirExpress that serve Branson. They provide direct, non-stop service to Atlanta, Denver and several other hubs. Connecting through these cities, more than 100 national and international cities are only one stop away from Branson. The terminal is 58,000-SF and has the capacity to handle more than 1 million enplanements annually. Individuals and groups flying into Branson have access to the auto-services on-site, as well as taxi and shuttle service into Branson. The airport also includes a general aviation facility to handle corporate and private aircraft.
The Springfield-Branson National Airport (SGF) is approximately 50 miles from Branson and serves all of Southwest Missouri with 70 daily flights connecting to eight international airports via six airlines. Choose from Allegiant Air, American Connection, American Eagle, Delta Connection, Northwest Airlink and United Express. These airlines offer direct flights to and from Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas/Ft Worth, Denver, Detroit, Las Vegas, Memphis, Minneapolis, Orlando, Tampa and St. Louis and one stop service to 476 domestic cities and 40 international destinations.