When Annette Wood, Director of Group Sales for the Branson Tourism Center, Branson’s leading provider of Branson travel services, first read about Branson, Missouri being ranked Number 3 in a listing of the Top 50 Group Tour Destinations for 2012 in a recent “Byways” online article entitled, “North America’s Top 50 Group Tour Destinations,” she enthusiastically and understandably said, “Yeah Branson!!” Calling Branson “the small town that transformed the entertainment business,” the article reports that Branson was surpassed only by Number 1 Washington, D.C. and Number 2 New York City on the list finishing ahead of cities such as Pigeon Forge, TN; Myrtle Beach, NC; Orlando, Las Vegas and dozens of others.
The listing was based on Byways “annual nationwide survey of tour operators and where they think their groups will be going during 2012.” The article explains that the survey is not a random survey, but is based on a “compilation of information received from tour operators throughout North America who responded to the annual Byways survey.” “Byways” is a bi-monthly publication “distributed electronically, via email to more than 4000 tour operators and 20,000 travel agencies” including bank travel managers, school band and athletic planners and meeting planners.
In addition to reporting and listing the Top 50 Group Tour Destinations for 2012, the article also listed the “Top 30 State Tours Destinations” with Missouri ranking Number 6 ahead of states such as Florida, Hawaii, and North Carolina. Branson also offers five out of the “Top Ten Tour Group Friendly Hotel chains including the Number 1 listed Holiday Inn Express, Number 3 Best Western, Number 4 Hampton Inns, Number 6 Comfort Inns and Number 9 Radisson Hotels.
The 1880’s theme park, Silver Dollar City, Branson’s largest and most popular attraction was listed Number 14 out of the “Top 15 Man-Made Attractions,” in the survey. The list included the Statute of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, Disney World and the Grand Old Opry. In addition to six world class festivals each year, the international award winning theme park features 30 rides and attractions encompassing everything from “Wildfire,” a world class multi-looping roller coaster that reaches speeds up to 66 miles per hour to their new $1 million “Half Dollar Holler” designed for kids through age 7; dozens of demonstrating craftsmen and some of the best live shows and entertainment available anywhere.
Branson Tourism Center’s Wood feels that Branson is popular with groups for the same reason it is popular with families and individuals. The natural beauty of the Ozarks and its lakes, when combined with Branson’s great value; live shows; attractions; golfing; fishing; shopping and other activities makes Branson a wonderful unique travel destination for groups and families alike.