Branson tourism bounces back after last year’s struggles


BRANSON, Mo. — Shops and attractions in Branson say they’re ending the tourism period on a high note this year.

“Branson had a little bit of a tough 2019 because of COVID, but 2020 has been a really nice year for us,” said Mark Ruda with Branson Jetboats.

“Summer’s just been fantastic,” said Steve Hartley, co-owner of Dicks 5 & 10. ” It’s definitely been a summer to remember.”

The Branson Area Chamber of Commerce says city sales tax is up 66% this year and the city’s tourism tax is up 242%.

“COVID really showed a need to really gather family, pay more attention to family,” said Hartley. “We’re Branson, what a better place to bring a family? Everybody can have a great time, reconnect.”

Ruda also mentions the number of lodging options Branson offers too.

“So when you stay at one of those, you got options to cook your own meals, so you’re not having to go to a restaurant three times a day, etc,” said Ruda. “There’s a lot of outdoor activities.”

However, the pandemic is still impacting retail stores behind the scenes.

“There’s definitely going to be an inventory issue, at fall and Christmas,” said Hartley. “But Dick’s 5 & 50 always has inventory, and we will this year.”

But, businesses are still confident they will finish the season strong.

“Labor day is generally bigger than July 4th Weekend, and Memorial Day Weekend,” said Hartley. “It’s the last summer hoorah.”

The Taney County tax is up 53% over 2020. and Stone County is up 30%.

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