Written by Rachel Ledbetter
Senior Manager,
Communications and
Strategy, U.S. Chamber
of Commerce



How Branson Creates a Memorable Getaway for Spring Breakers

Businesses in Branson, Missouri make the city a fun family destination for spring break in the Ozarks.


Spring break is a chance for millions of Americans to set their day jobs aside and enjoy a week off with family, but in Branson, Missouri, the work is just getting started.

“From March through mid-April each year, we welcome more than one million visitors, with a direct economic impact in the neighborhood of $300 million,” says Grant Sloan, Vice President of Member Engagement at the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB). “When you consider Branson’s population is only 12,000, it’s a figure that’s almost impossible to believe.”

For Branson, spring break kicks off a busy tourist season that runs through the end of the year.

“Spring break is a special time of year in Branson,” says Sloan. “For the majority of our small businesses, it serves as the official start to the tourism season. Seemingly overnight, traffic picks up, our shows, attractions, and shopping centers are filled with families, and the beautiful Ozarks begin to bloom. Spring break is the first of many mile markers for our community, eventually concluding in December with what we call ‘Ozark Mountain Christmas.’”

Sloan says local small businesses do an incredible job of providing “Ozarks hospitality” and creating memories worth repeating. “We know our visitors can choose to vacation anywhere, so we want to ensure they have an experience that keeps them coming back year after year.”

And more and more people are discovering Branson or coming back to the area for vacations. “More visitors than ever before are choosing to vacation in Branson during spring break. Since 2019, visitation between March and mid-April is up more than 10%, with our town welcoming more than 1.2 million people in that timeframe in 2023,” says Sloan.

Sloan notes the community and the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB aren’t stopping there. “We are always looking for new and creative ways to keep tourists coming back, and we’re blessed that our small businesses are open to those ideas. In a community of our size, we know we have to work together to accomplish those strategies.”

The Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB shared examples of how businesses in and around Branson are creating memorable spring break getaways and how spring break is brought to you by American business.



Thrilling Family Fun Experiences

The Track Family Fun Parks has been entertaining families for more than four decades. With three locations in Branson, the parks help create unforgettable, fun moments for visitors and locals with attractions such as three high-rise go-kart tracks, classic go-karts, laser tag, bumper boats, the Skycoaster, the Skyscraper, the Branson Ferris Wheel, and more. 

“Spring Break is one of the peak times for our business. We thrive on the weeks and weekends when school’s out, offering everything from go-karts to bumper boats,” says Julie Wilson, Vice President of Marketing for Five Star Parks & Attractions.

The Track Family Fun Parks prides itself on being in the business of fun and providing a space for families to create memories that they’ll always cherish. Wilson says it aligns with Branson’s core values and is one of the reasons they often see multiple generations come back to their attractions year after year. 

When asked about how spring break impacts their operations, Wilson says it’s key to business growth. “Having a successful Spring Break grants us the ability to explore capital improvement projects that add to the overall guest experience, be it new rides, attractions, or restaurants."

“Our community is our business,” says Wilson. “Without the support of our local partners, our business wouldn’t be successful. In a tourism-driven economy, everyone has to work together to continue growing and meeting the ever-changing demands of our visitors. We’re blessed to work in an area that understands that.”


Shopping at 75+ Outlets

For 40 years, the Tanger Outlets in Branson have served the local community and visitors, with research showing shopping is one of the main drivers of tourism in the Branson area.

“When spring breakers begin showing up the second week of March, we know the tourism season in Branson is officially underway,” says Jamie Whiteis, General Manager at Tanger Factory Outlet Centers. “Branson is known as a great value vacation destination, and that’s really what we’re all about. We now have more than 75 outlet stores at our location.”

Whiteis says spring break is one of the busiest times of the tourism season. “It’s played a critical role in our ability to expand our facilities and options available to shoppers. So far, 2024 is looking great, too.”

Retail sales contribute to the local tax base, which is important. “It’s how we pay for our infrastructure, our police and fire, even our marketing dollars. While we’re only a town of about 12,000 people, we see about 50,000 visitors a day, so generating tax revenue is very important,” says Whiteis.


Delicious Ozark-Style BBQ

Gettin’ Basted started as a food truck in 2016 and opened its first brick-and-mortar location in Branson a year later. Now the flagship brand in the Gettin’ Basted restaurant group, the Ozarks-style BBQ and burger joint’s unique and innovative offerings have fueled its growth.  

“We try to push the bar with our creative dishes and quality products along with a fun and whimsical atmosphere,” said co-owner Tammy Zachary. “Spring break is vital in helping maintain our financial position working in a tourist/seasonal area.” 

The revenue generated from spring break tourism helps the restaurant group’s overall bottom line. It also allows Zachary to pursue other opportunities, such as opening new restaurants, exploring new marketing avenues, hiring more employees, and giving back to the community.   

“We are very passionate about our youth and giving back to our school systems,” said Zachary. 


State-of-the-Art Theatrical Productions

Since its beginning as a traveling multi-media show in 1976, Sight & Sound Theatres has inspired over 30 million people with stories from the pages of scripture and history. Opened in 2008, this Branson theatre employs more than 300 and welcomes thousands of guests each spring.

“Spring Break has opened the door to reaching younger families seeking a safe and beautiful destination, featuring a wide variety of shopping, entertainment, and attractions,” says Kortney Neal, Marketing & Community Relations Manager for Sight and Sound Theatre. “Sight & Sound is grateful to be a part of the incredible destination of Branson, Missouri. We believe that we offer state-of-the-art productions that bring visitors back time and time again.”


Click here to see original article at www.uschamber.com.