Branson's Market Prosperous - 1st Quarter Upswing
Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB Marketing Director Dan Lennon delivered a promising report to Branson alderman Monday May 14. First quarter regional economic indicators demonstrated a successful beginning to the year. Stone County, Taney County, and Indian Point sales tax revenues showed an increase over last year’s first quarter reports. Taney County showed a 17.7 percent increase over 2006 with sales tax figures totaling $2,243,000. Indian Point’s first quarter showed a 15.5 percent increase with $14,333 in sales tax collected. Stone County showed a more moderate increase of 3.48 percent with $335,512. An independent firm, Smith Travel Research, reported hotel bookings have increased 23.3 percent. Lennon shared each month varied and part of the upswing is attributable to Branson’s proximity to communities affected by winter ice storms. The city of Branson showed the greatest increase at 25.94 percent representing $1,383,807 in sales tax revenue from January through March.
Heavy interest from tourists seeking information about the Branson market was reported.. Lennon said 2007 inquiries are on pace to set a new record though double digit increases shouldn’t be anticipated. In 2006 inquiries increased nearly 200%.
Phone volume to the Branson Area Chamber & CVB showed a 21 percent decrease with radically increased inquiries coming from the Internet over the last two years. Lennon said the shift was inline with national booking trends and 2007 marks the first year online travel transactions will eclipse revenue from traditional methods booking travel services.
Lennon projected gasoline prices are a wildcard but won’t necessarily hurt Branson’s tourist traffic. Citing an industry expert, Lennon said if prices maintained high price levels average tourist expenditures could drop.
Stone County Version
Stone County’s economy is on track for a record year. First quarter sales tax records showed a 3.48 percent increase over last year’s first quarter revenue. Regionally, the numbers are even higher. Indian Point’s first quarter increased 15.5 percent over last year, Taney County showed a 17.7 percent increase and the city of Branson an impressive 25.94 percent increase.
The reported figures were delivered by Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Marketing Director Dan Lennon to Branson leadership last week. The regional tourism tax, which covers part of Stone County, funded a massive marketing blitz which is helping the regional economy gain momentum.
Some of the economic success experienced this winter is attributable to Lake’s area resorts servicing storm refugees while power outages ensued. Silver Dollar City reported a 10 year high in 2006. The Table Rock Lake Area Chamber reported a 9 percent increase in 2006 with $120,918,361 in direct sales. Cindy Morris of the chamber said tourism accounts for 1,931 Stone County jobs.
The Stone County economy kicks into gear during the summer months and marketing efforts are underway to increase stimulus during the fall season. An increased focus on advertising focused on outdoor recreation activities will encourage the possibility of another record breaking year for the Stone County economy.