BRANSON, Mo. — Despite freezing temperatures in the Ozarks, Branson tourism is heating up.
The Branson area was blanketed by roughly an inch of snow late Friday morning, compounded by bitterly cold temperatures.
A round of winter weather in March has created less than ideal conditions for spring break, according to some visitors.
“We’re visiting from Lebow, Kansas,” one family told OzarksFirst near the Branson Landing Friday afternoon.”
“[I’m from] Florida. I’ve been in Kansas for the last week and a half,” added another tourist. “It’s 80 degrees at home. Here, it’s freezing.”
“We were going to go to Florida, but we ended up here instead,” a spring breaker from Michigan also chimed in while shopping in downtown Branson.
Tourists out shopping today tell OzarksFirst they were not picturing snow when planning their spring break getaways.
However, those looking ahead to Branson’s busy season say they will take the snow days if it means folks are more eager to travel come spring.
“It seemed like [the snow] was hitting on weekends for a while there, but we’re still seeing good numbers as we start out the year,” says Lynn Berry, Communications Director for Branson Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Berry says Branson is currently in the top three for destination ratings and reviews on TripAdvisor.
“Number one is Hawaii. Number two is Charleston. Number three is Branson, Missouri,” Berry says. “We’re very excited to see that we have captured an audience on TripAdvisor and that they’re talking about planning a trip to Branson.”
Before the pandemic halted tourism in 2020, Branson’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau recorded the city’s biggest year yet, totaling over $9 million visitors in 2019.
In 2021, Berry says sales tax and tourism records were shattered again. Branson’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau report it saw roughly 10% increases in both areas.
The numbers have Berry hopeful for 2022.
“Anecdotally, we have seen increases in retail, we have seen increases in theater attendance for the ones that were open. And for us, it looks like it’s starting out to be pretty good.”