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Spring Break Travel Trends 2015

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Branson Business Community Embarrassed Over City Council’s Lack of Integrity Airport Contract

Open Letter to City of Branson Board of Aldermen

In Regards to the Branson Airport Contract Payment……..

Sirs and Madams,

I have important clients in town this coming Tuesday evening and simply do not have time to once again stop everything and come down to City Hall and wait in another meeting to get up and ask you to do the honorable thing and pay the bill.  I am sending this short note asking that one of you grow a pair and make a motion to first fund the current bill and secondly make a motion to permanently have the funding of this agreement unless specifically removed by vote due to appropriation problems.  This allows the public and this airport to finally assume the city will honor the commitment it has signed and amended and re-signed.  When and if it is ever necessary to remove the funding it will then be necessary for the public to once again stop their lives to come to city hall and tell you all to do the right thing.

No other “appropriations” contingent line items are purposefully left off the budget, yet the same right s of non-appropriation exists.  This repeated negligence on your parts is an embarrassment.  The news reported every six months is misinterpreted by the public as well as our visitors.  I am ashamed of a “Family Values” community that repeatedly threatens to withhold payment in a contract they signs and later ratified.  Making the vendor on a contract publicly beg for money owed it over and over again is an abuse of power, an inexcusable political maneuver, and a despicable action.

Yes for the protection of the community a common clause regarding payment being subject to appropriations was included in this contract as well as many more contracts. However, this is the only contract you all choose to habitually threaten to use this clause on.  SHAME ON YOU!  The purpose of that clause is to protect the city from an unforeseen cataclysmic financial hardship, not to hold over the heads of the vendor who already delivered the goods.

The intent of that all too common clause in governmental contracts was to always be appropriated and funded unless it became necessary to exercise the rights of that provision and vote openly to un-appropriate the funding with cause.  Your use of it over the past few years is once again EMBARRASSING and SHAMEFUL.

One of you sitting on that board should once and for all make a motion to do the right thing.

Not Very Respectfully,

 

Bob Huels

Multiple Business Owner in Branson, Mo.

Southwest Airlines Lands First Branson Flight

Branson Airport LogoLUV Lands In Branson! Southwest Airlines Converts AirTran Airways Service, Adding 79th Destination To Route Map. Airline Offers Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas Customers Low Fares and More Destinations

DALLAS, March 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) is excited to announce that LUV has officially landed in Branson, Missouri! The Branson Community rolled out the red carpet today as Congressman Billy Long joined the Branson Airport in welcoming Southwest’s first Customers to Branson.

Southwest attributes its entrance into the market to the roots planted by its wholly-owned subsidiary AirTran Airways. AirTran began service to the market in 2009 and currently serves one nonstop flight to Atlanta. Southwest will increase service options for Branson Customers by offering three daily nonstop flights to Dallas Love Field, Houston Hobby, and Chicago Midway, with additional Saturday-only nonstop service to Orlando. The introduction of Southwest’s larger Boeing 737 aircraft to the market means that passenger seat availability will increase, providing Branson Customers greater access to the airline’s vast network.

“Our arrival in Branson represents one of the true benefits of our integration with AirTran Airways, allowing us to continue providing low fares and legendary Customer Service to the People of Missouri,” said Rick Pelc, Southwest Airlines Station Director. “We’re excited to provide our Southern Missouri Customers access to a broad network of destinations, and just as important, allowing better access to Branson for our existing Customers across America.”

The Branson Airport celebrated the Southwest inaugural service today with a press conference and a tailgate party to welcome the airline’s first Customers to Branson. Community Members joined the Branson Airport to celebrate the long-anticipated arrival of Southwest Airlines and its Employees to the market. Southwest also showed its passion for the community by joining the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Missouri to help make a child’s wish come true. Southwest and the Southwest region of Make-A-Wish Missouri will help send five-year-old Kyah to San Diego to visit the zoo.

Southwest Airlines’ inflight publication Spirit Magazine is celebrating the new service with its Customers nationwide by launching an enter-to-win sweepstakes for a chance to win a six-night Branson Travel Package! The package includes two roundtrip tickets on Southwest Airlines, free hotel stays, dining gift certificates, show tickets, and more! To enter, visit www.spiritmag.com and register by March 31, 2013. Rules and restrictions apply.

ABOUT SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.
In its 42nd year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by nearly 46,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers annually. Southwest is the nation’s largest carrier in terms of originating passengers boarded, and including wholly-owned subsidiary, AirTran Airways, operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world to serve 97 destinations in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and six near-international countries. Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for its triple bottom line thinking that takes into account the carrier’s performance and productivity, the importance of the People who work there and the communities it serves, and its commitment to efficiency and the Planet. The 2011 Southwest Airlines One Report™ can be found at southwest.com/citizenship.

Southwest Airlines
From its first flights on June 18, 1971, Southwest Airlines launched an era of unprecedented affordability in air travel quantified by the U.S. Department of Transportation as “The Southwest Effect,” a lowering of fares and increase in passenger traffic wherever the carrier serves. On every flight, Southwest offers Customers the first two pieces of checked luggage (weight and size limitations apply) and all ticket changes without additional fees. Southwest’s all Boeing fleet consistently offers leather seating and the comfort of full-size cabins, many of which are equipped with satellite-based WiFi connectivity and a new, sustainable cabin interior. With 40 consecutive years of profitability, the People of Southwest operate more than 3,200 flights a day and serve communities around 78 airports in Southwest’s network of domestic destinations. Southwest Airlines’ frequent flights and low fares are available only at southwest.com.

AirTran Airways
AirTran Airways, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southwest Airlines Co., offers coast-to-coast and near-international service with close to 600 flights a day to 54 destinations. The carrier’s high-quality product includes assigned seating and Business Class. As Southwest continues to integrate AirTran’s People, places, and planes into Southwest Airlines, Customers of both carriers may book flights at airtran.com and exchange earned loyalty points between both AirTran’s A+ Rewards® and Southwest’s Rapid Rewards® for reward travel on either airline.

ABOUT THE BRANSON AIRPORT
The Branson Airport currently has 5 nonstop destinations and one stop connecting service to more than 100 major cities in the United States. Nonstop destinations include: Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and Orlando on Southwest Airlines; and Denver on Frontier Airlines. For a complete list of destinations available at the Branson Airport, visit www.FlyBranson.com.

Known for the unique airport experience and unparalleled customer service, Branson Airport LLC is the first privately developed and operated commercial service airport in the United States. Branson Airport is currently serviced by Southwest Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and Branson AirExpress (a seasonal chartered service); allowing passengers the ability to access over 100 destinations all on low cost carriers. Located in the heart of the Ozarks and centrally located in the Midwest, the airport also boasts a state of the art FBO, Branson JetCenter and a full service travel agency, FlyBranson Travel. For more information visit www.FlyBranson.com or call toll free 1-888-FLY-BKG1 (1-888-359-2541).

ABOUT THE MAKE-A-WISH FOUNDATION OF MISSOURI
The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Missouri, visit www.mo.wish.org and discover how you can share the power of a wish®

Branson’s next act: reinvent itself or rely on its past?

Courtesy KSPR 2/18/13 8:59 PM
KSPR Discusses Future with City Leaders.

BRANSON, Mo — The show must go on. For Branson, that means keeping alive a rich history even without the stars of its past.

Stephen Critchfield and Bob Huels have lived and worked in the Music City for more than 20 years and call this era the end of a life cycle event.

“We’ve come to a time where all of this happened at once and it’s coming to a life cycle changes as well,” Critchfield said. “This market was built with people who said, ‘I want to sleep in my bed, I want a great sound system every night, I want the lights to work and I want to run the show myself. I want to shake hands with people and not just get on a bus and leave.'”
The two find people to buy Branson property — an intriguing business when theaters suddenly become vacant.

Since the 1990s, Roy Clark, Bobby Vinton, Mel Tillis, Moe Bandy, and Ray Stevens are among those who took final bows. Next year, Yakov Smirnoff, Tony Orlando and the Legends of Kung Fu will bid farewell.

“We’re at the end of a life-cycle of phenomenon that worked,” Critchfield said. “It just happened and sprung up here and nobody knew why, but it did.”

The curtain calls don’t even tell the whole story: several theaters in Branson are for sale and many are still open for business.

“If we were to advertise an existing operating showplace, then ticket sales would slow down,” Huels said. “Employees would send out their resumes.”

Huels wouldn’t say which ones, but KSPR learned that theaters up for sale include God & Country, Mickey Gilley, Jim Stafford, and, of course, the long vacant Grand Palace. The Branson Tri-Lakes Center is in foreclosure, and Mercy Hospital has plans to knock down the Oak Ridge Boys Theater.

But the show must go on. And there’s debate about exactly who should take the stage, and headline a city’s reputation.

To really explore the sides in this debate, we reached out to two important people to Branson’s success: Ross Summers, president of Branson’s Chamber of Commerce , and Bob Canella, owner of Up Close Concerts . Cannella brings acts like Merle Haggard back to Branson.

“The entertainment in Branson will sustain itself,” Summers said. “The fact that we won’t sell alcohol at our shows and don’t have casinos plays to our own advantage. There’s nowhere else in the country you can get this entertainment under these conditions that you can bring your kids to.”

Cannella says that’s not enough.

“I spend a lot of time on the road in cities like Dallas and Chicago,” he said. “I see commercials that run in those cities for Branson and I see golf courses, go karts and music. I ask myself, ‘Why would someone in Chicago or Dallas go to Branson when they have this in their backyard?'”

Cannella says Branson’s reputation within the music industry is not all positive.

“I could list a lot of names of artists that will not come to Branson. They think it will hurt their image,” Cannella said. “I won’t list those names because it will damage me and I won’t work with these artists in other cities.”

Summers refuted Cannella’s claims.

“I think, if you ask our visitors, they will take exception to that,” he said. “[Visitors] come here to be entertained, to relax, to have a good time with family. Branson will continue to reinvent itself on a continued basis.”

Summers says Branson will continue to attract visitors who know what Branson offers — and what it doesn’t.

“They don’t expect a show you may see in Las Vegas or even New York City. It’s a Branson show and we’ve become known for good comedy, acrobats from China, good variety and wholesome family entertainment.”

Summers says he expects Branson to welcome 8 million tourists in 2013.

“We have a sustainable market for what we have grown and gotten used to over the years, over the decades. We’re not a Las Vegas and we don’t want to be. We position ourselves as a market to come to and have different experiences, but you don’t have to do it in front of a billboard of a naked woman,” Summers said.

Cannella rejects that argument.

“I don’t know of anyone who wants to bring in adult entertainment, meaning not suitable for the average family. All I want to do is be more welcoming to younger artists and different types of music.”

Cannella says places like Nashville are family friendly but also have bars and clubs. He says a great venue meant for Branson is a place like the House of Blues (http://www.houseofblues.com/).

Some new attractions coming to Branson include another zip line across Lake Taneycome to Branson Landing, and a new Chinese acrobat show.

Ross also said youth sports will now play a major role in the city. The city hopes to get league, regional and national competitions with new baseball fields and a gymnastics center.

2011 Official Missouri Travel Guide: There’s a Free App for That

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users interested in traveling to Missouri now have fingertip access to the 2011 Official Missouri Travel Guide.

The Missouri Division of Tourism announced the iTunes App Store has a FREE 2011 Official Missouri Travel Guide application that’s now available to download. This version of the Missouri Travel Guide is compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch; users will need to have at least iOS 4 to download and view the guide to their device, iPod Touch users will need Wi-Fi access.

“This is another way for the Missouri Division of Tourism to connect with consumers interested in traveling to Missouri,” said Katie Steele Danner, director of the Missouri Division of Tourism. “Our research shows more and more people are accessing the Missouri Division of Tourism’s existing online content with their mobile devices. Having a mobile app seems like a natural progression in our marketing efforts. To provide it free is a bonus we’re glad to be able to offer.”

The 2011 Official Missouri Travel Guide is the Division of Tourism’s annual publication highlighting attractions and destinations, lodging properties, campgrounds, golf courses, canoeing facilities, Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites, and bed and breakfast inns. The guide features 172 pages of travel-related information, along with coupons, full-color photographs and contact information for travel and tourism-related groups and associations.

The 2011 Official Missouri Travel Guide application can be found on the iTunes App Store by performing a keyword search for “Official Missouri Travel Guide.” The app for the guide also is available in the App Store’s travel section. The new application was developed in partnership with Madden Media, which assists the Missouri Division of Tourism with the production and publication of its annual travel guide.

For more information about the Missouri Division of Tourism, please log on to www.VisitMO.com.

Contact: Sarah Luebbert
Missouri Division of Tourism
573-522-5501
Sarah.Luebbert@ded.mo.gov