7/19/2017 - BRANSON, Mo. – If sales tax figures are any indication, new attractions in Branson are helping bring new visitors to the Ozarks.
According to Branson Planning and Development director, Joel Hornickel, tourism tax figures are up over 2015 and 2016, both of which were record years for the city.
It’s hoped the latest round of development in Branson, some of which is now open to the public, will keep the momentum going.
The addition that might be the easiest for drivers to spot is “Bigfoot on the Strip.” The new attraction features a 200-foot tower with two thrill rides: the “Gravity Bomb” and the “Super Swing.”
Just down the highway, “The Branson Coaster,” is putting the final touches on the nation’s first “double alpine” coaster. While the grand opening may be a few weeks away, the attraction is currently accepting riders.
The tracks run on the same hill that used to be occupied by “The Water Chute.” Tennessee-based, FACE Amusement removed the old water slide and put in the dual tracks in just over seven months.
"Now we're ready for giving a great customer experience to Branson,” says FACE Amusement director of customer experience, Rusty Mabe, “and all the guests that come here."
Mabe says the track will run both day and night, but the speed is up to the person controlling the manual brakes.
"It could be an eight minute [ride],” he says, “it could be six minutes, depending on how fast you want to go."
“That's exciting for us that we're attracting new people to the community,” says Hornickel, “with new ideas and new attractions."
Hornickel says continued investment not only helps to pull in new groups like FACE, who also has three new additions at The Landing but also promotes redevelopment from established businesses.
Promised Land Zoo, located on Shepherd of the Hills Expressway, just finished a two-mile drive through expansion and is holding a grand opening Thursday, July 20.
At the corner of Shepherd of the Hills and Roark, West Gate has filed paperwork for what is expected to be an indoor water park.
"The number we've heard is 50,000-square feet under their roof,” he says, “and obviously that's a lot of space that can offer a lot unique attractions in a water park setting.
The public should also get an idea soon of what could be coming in 2018. Silver Dollar City is expected to hold an “unveiling” in August to discuss its newest attraction. Details there are few as well, other than a press release that includes the title “gravity redefined.”
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