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Branson News ...page four

B ranson NewsLODGING USE ON THE RISE

Washington DC -- Hotel/motel travelers are more likely to fly to their destination, stay longer, travel for business, use more services such as rental cars, and report higher household incomes than non-hotel travelers, according to The Domestic Hotel/Motel Traveler report released by the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA). The report is based on findings from TIA’s ongoing TravelScope® survey among a representative sample of 20,000 U.S. households each month. Data for the report are based on domestic trips of 50 miles or more, one way, away from home, taken in 1998.

The report documents that of the 547.1 million trips taken by U.S. residents, nearly half (45%) or 247.3 million involved a stay at a hotel or motel, up three percent from 1997. Interestingly, the purpose of trip for those staying in a hotel or motel splits almost evenly between business and pleasure, with 45 percent traveling for business, 43 percent traveling for pleasure, and 12 percent traveling for other reasons.

Less than one-fifth (17%) of trips including a hotel/motel stay had children under 18 years of age on them. This translates to 40.7 million trips. Not surprisingly, pleasure is the dominant purpose of trips with children (67%), while business represents 17 percent of all hotel/motel trips that included children.

AMERICANS ARE STAYING WIRED WHILE TRAVELING

Washington DC -- According to the latest TIA Travel Poll of 1,200 U.S. adults, 51 percent of the 39.8 million business travelers over the past year said they brought their cellular phone with them on a business trip. In addition, 22 percent brought a pager, 20 percent brought a laptop computer and 6 percent brought a handheld personal digital assistant with them on at least one business trip taken in the past year.

Pleasure travelers are only slightly less likely than business travelers to want to stay connected while away from home. Forty-six percent brought a cellular phone and 18 percent brought their pager with them on a pleasure or vacation trip in the past year. Only 6 percent of pleasure travelers brought a laptop computer with them, while 3 percent took a handheld personal digital assistant.

The increased usage of the Internet and the popularity of e-mail as a form of communication is evident among many travelers. One-fifth (21%) of business travelers used the Internet or e-mail while on a business or convention trip in the past year, compared to 10 percent of pleasure travelers.

Groups who are more likely to use the Internet or e-mail while on a pleasure trip in the past year include:

The majority of pleasure travelers who use the Internet or e-mail while traveling do so at a friend or relative's home (75%).
The most popular place for business/convention travelers to use the Internet or e-mail was at an office they were visiting (46%).
Accessing the Internet in a hotel room using their own computer was the second most popular method for business (40%) and pleasure travelers (22%).

Places Travelers Use the Internet or Check E-Mail
(Among 8.9 million business/convention travelers and 15 million pleasure travelers who used the Internet while traveling in the past year)

Business/ Convention Pleasure
At an office they were visiting 46% 16%
In a hotel room using their own computer 40 22
At a friend or relative’s home 36 75
At a hotel business center using hotel’s computer 17 9</TR
TIA is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $552 billion travel industry. TIA's mission is to represent the whole of the U.S. travel industry to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States.

TIA RELEASES LANDMARK REPORT ON SPORTS TRAVEL

Washington DC -- A landmark report released today by the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) found that significant numbers of sports events travelers take in some kind of sporting event while travelling.

According to the report, Profiles of Travelers who Attend Sports Events, two-fifths of U.S. adults are sports events travelers. In the past five years, 75.3 million U.S. adults attended an organized sports event, competition or tournament as either a spectator or as a participant while on a trip of 50 miles or more, one-way, away from home.

The report which is based on TIA’s TravelScope mail survey of 240,000 adults as well as a special telephone survey of 1,200 households also found that baseball leads as the most preferred sports event during travel, followed by football, basketball and auto/truck racing. Men and women report similar preferences in these activities. However, men outnumber women as sports events travelers. Forty-five percent of men (42.7 million) compared to 31 percent of women (32.6 million) attended a sports event while traveling in the past five years.

"America has a long, rich and active tradition of sports and sporting events touch each and every family in this country," said William S. Norman, President and CEO of the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA). "That is why it is no surprise that sports-related travel is so popular in the U.S. and why sports is such an important part of the U.S. travel experience."

Professional and amateur sports events are attended equally while traveling, according to the report. Among amateur events, high school and college sports are most popular. Attending the sports event is the primary purpose of trip for most sports events travelers (76%) and most sports events travelers are spectators (84%). One-fourth of these travelers attended events to watch their children or grandchildren play.

DETAILS OF THE REPORT

WHEN FAMILIES TRAVEL TOGETHER, IT'S FOR THE BETTER

Washington DC -- Nearly one-half of U.S. adults (49%) took a family vacation trip in 1998 and over one-fourth (28%) of those family vacationers went with another family in addition to their own. This translates to 26.8 million U.S. adults. The overwhelming majority said travelling with another family was a good experience.

These results are from the TIA Travel Poll, conducted by the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA). The poll found that of all past year travelers, 18 percent went on a family vacation with another family. Baby Boomers age (35-44 years old), residents of the Mid-Atlantic and Pacific census regions, travelers with an annual household income of $75,000 or more and married travelers are the most likely to take a family vacation with another family from outside of their household.

Nearly three-fourths of travelers (72%) who went on a family vacation with another family had their spouse with them on their most recent trip and nearly half had children with them (48% children, 2% grandchildren). Other companions from the traveler’s household include: parents (8%), other adult family members (9%) and non-related household members (2%).

When travelers were asked about their experience traveling with another family, the responses were overwhelmingly favorable. Sixty-four percent said that they had a great time and would definitely do it all over again. One-third of these travelers (34%) said that the experience was mostly good and only two percent had a negative experience on their most recent family vacation with another family.

TIA is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $552 billion travel industry. TIA's mission is to represent the whole of the U.S. travel industry to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States.

GARDEN TOURS ARE POPULAR WITH MANY TRAVELERS

Washington DC -- June 17, 1999 - Nearly 40 million Americans have taken a garden tour or participated in some other garden-related travel activity in the past five years, according to the most recent TIA Travel Poll, conducted by the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA).

One-fifth of U.S. residents (20%) went on a garden tour, visited a botanical garden, attended a gardening show or festival, or participated in some other garden-related activity while on a trip of 100 miles or more, one-way, away from home in the past five years. This translates to 39.3 million U.S. adults. Ten million U.S. adults (5% of U.S. adults, 7% of past year travelers) participated in a garden-related activity while on a trip of 100 miles or more, one-way, away from home in the past year.

According to the poll of 1,200 U.S. adults, college graduates (33%), travelers with an annual household income of $75,000 or more (33%), residents of the New England census region (31%), married travelers (28%) and travelers 55-64 years old (28%) are most likely to take in a garden-related activity while traveling.

Nearly three-fourths of garden travelers (71%) visited a botanical garden in the past five years, making it the most popular garden activity. Thirty-six percent of garden travelers attended a gardening show or festival and 29 percent went on some type of garden tour. Another 16 percent participated in some other type of garden-related activity or tour. Garden travelers could participate in different garden activities on the same trip or could go on multiple garden trips within the past five years.

Most travelers who participate in garden activities do not report those activities as a major reason for taking the trip. Only seven percent of travelers (2.7 million) who participated in a garden activity said that the garden activity was the primary reason for taking the trip. More than four in five garden travelers (84%) said that on their most recent garden trip, the garden activity was not a primary or secondary reason, but rather just an activity on the trip.
Garden Activity’s Priority in the Most Recent Trip

Primary Reason 7%
Secondary Reason 9%
Not a Reason, Just a Trip Activity 84%

Nearly one-fourth of garden travelers (24%) used some type of home and garden magazine for travel ideas within the past five years. Better Homes & Gardens was the most popular home and garden magazine, with 12 percent of garden travelers using it for travel ideas. Other popular home and garden magazines used for travel ideas include Southern Living (7%), Country Living (7%) and Martha Stewart Living (4%). Five percent of garden travelers used some other home and garden magazine for travel ideas.

Garden travelers differ from all U.S. travelers in a number of ways. Garden travelers are more likely to be female (60% vs. 51%), college educated (49% vs. 40%), have some post-graduate education (23% vs. 15%), work in a professional or managerial occupation (35% vs. 27%) and to be somewhat older (46 years vs. 44 years, mean). Their annual household incomes are also slightly higher ($49,000 vs. $46,000).

TIA is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $552 billion travel industry. TIA's mission is to represent the whole of the U.S. travel industry to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States.

TRAVELERS PREFER GOLF OVER TENNIS

Washington DC -- One in eight U.S. travelers (12%) played golf while on a trip of 100 miles or more, one-way, away from home in the past year. This translates to 17.3 million U.S. adults. Six million U.S. adults (4% of past year travelers) played tennis while on a trip of 100 miles or more, one-way, away from home in the past year. These results are from the TIA Travel Poll, conducted by the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA). Among these two groups, 2.7 million U.S. adults played both golf and tennis while traveling in the past year. This represents 16 percent of all golf travelers and 46 percent of all tennis travelers. Golfing travelers averaged 2.6 trips (mean) over the past year, with 10 percent golfing on six or more trips. Nearly one-half of golfing travelers did so on only one trip in the past year (46%). One-third went on either two or three golfing trips in the past year (34%).

Sixteen percent of travelers who played golf said that golf was the most important reason for taking the trip. Over one-half of golfing travelers (55%) said that on their most recent golf trip, golfing was not a primary or secondary reason, but rather just an activity on the trip.

Much like all U.S. travel, visiting friends and relatives is the most common purpose of travel for golf trips (35%). Outdoor recreation comprised one-fifth of all golf trips (19%), while sightseeing or entertainment comprised another fifth (19%). Seventeen percent of golf trips are primarily business related.

Golf travelers differ from all U.S. travelers. Golf travelers are more likely to be male (63% vs. 49%), married (80% vs. 66%), college educated (49% vs. 39%), work in a professional or managerial occupation (42% vs. 29%), have multiple wage earners in the household (55% vs. 46%) and have a higher average annual household income ($73,000 vs. $47,000, median).
Demographic Profile of Golf and Total U.S. Travelers

U.S. Travelers Golf Travelers
Male 49% 63%
Married 66% 80%
Professional/Managerial 29% 42%
Average Age (Mean) 44 years 45 years
Children in Household 49% 43%
Completed College 39% 49%
Post Graduate Education 16% 18%
Two or More Wage Earners in Household

FRIENDS AND FAMILY ARE LEADING SOURCE FOR TRAVEL INFORMATION

Washington DC -- Despite the billions of dollars the travel industry spends annually on marketing and promotion, the leading way that Americans chose their travel destinations is through referrals from friends and relatives, according to the TIA Travel Poll, a survey of 1,200 U.S. adults conducted in September.

Friends and relatives are the number one source for information about places to visit or about flights, hotels or rental cars (43%). The survey results relate to trips the traveler took in the past five years. Travel agents were the second most popular source of travel information (39%) and travel companies such as airlines, hotels or rental car companies were third (32%).

One in five past year travelers (21%) contacted a city, state or country's tourism office to get information about a destination that they planned to visit or about flights, hotels or other travel services in the past five years. This equates to 33 million U.S. adult travelers.

Contacts with travel agents, tourism offices and travel companies include visits to the web sites of these organizations. Another 17 percent of travelers visited other web sites including commercial ones like Microsoft in the past five years. In total, 19 percent of travelers visited a web site to obtain travel information in the past five years. This includes visits to commercial, travel agent, tourism office and travel company web sites.

Three-fourths of travelers who used the services of a city, state or country tourism office in the past five years are married (76%). One-half are college graduates (55%) and one-half have children under 18 at home (52%). A large share of tourism office patrons have household incomes over $50,000 (43%), are in the 35-49 age group (41%) and hold professional or managerial jobs (34%). This profile is upscale in terms of education and income and somewhat older compared to travelers who did not contact a city, state or country tourism office in the past five years. There is no difference by gender or region when comparing travelers who used a tourism office versus those who did not.

The most common way people contacted a tourism office was through a phone call (62%), followed by the Internet (39%), personal visit (25%) and by letter (22%). Web site use was higher among those contacting a tourism office (39%) than among those contacting an airline/hotel/rental car company (26%) or a travel agent (18%). Personal visits were higher among those contacting a travel agent (42%) than among those contacting a tourism office (25%) or a travel company (10%).

Contacted Tourism Officein the Past 5 Years?
Yes/ No
Married 76% 64%
College Graduate 55 34
Children Under 18 At Home 52 45
$50,000+ household income 43 30
35-49 year age group 41 30
Professional/managerial job 34 19

TIA is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $552 billion travel industry. TIA's mission is to represent the whole of the U.S. travel industry to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States.

TRAVELERS SPEAK OUT ON TRAVEL TAXES

Washington DC -- U.S. travelers, who spend more than $70 billion a year in travel-related taxes, say they are well aware of the taxes they are paying but they have varying opinions about how the taxes should be spent.

The results are part of the TIA Travel Poll, a monthly survey of 1,200 U.S. adult travelers which was one of two travel tax reports released today by the Travel Industry Association of America. The poll found that an impressive 90% of all travelers are aware of the travel taxes they pay. This is significant because, with many travel purchases, the taxes are often not made clear to the traveler.

In particular, three-quarters of past year travelers (75%) recalled paying a restaurant meal tax in the past year while on a trip. Other highly recalled taxes included gasoline tax (73%), hotel tax (62%) and highway tolls (45%).

Those who were aware of the travel taxes they paid differed in a number of ways from those who didn't pay travel taxes or were unaware of it. They were more likely to be married (66% vs. 50%) and have multiple people living in their household (92% vs. 84%). Those aware of travel taxes were also more likely to have attended some college (72% vs. 58%) and have higher average household incomes ($60,000 vs. $41,000). Among those not aware, there was a higher share of 65+ (23% vs. 14%) and retired travelers (28% vs. 17%). In some communities, the travel tax money that is paid goes to help pay for new tourism facilities which may include convention centers, visitor welcome centers, or to pay for advertising to encourage visitors to come to that community. In other communities, the travel tax money paid goes to general fund expenses which may include education, police or social services in that community. Some communities do both.

Half of travelers favor using travel tax money for the general fund of the local community (50%). About one-half of travelers also favor using this tax money to benefit the travelers to that area, such as in setting up 800 numbers so visitors can get tourist information (47%). One-third of travelers feel it is "very appropriate" to use tax money to pay for advertising to encourage visitors to come to that community (36%), to build visitor welcome centers (35%) and to pay salaries of local tourism offices (32%). New sports stadiums got the lowest share of support, with one-half of travelers saying it is "not at all appropriate" to fund them through travel taxes (52%).

Project VeryAppropriate SomewhatAppropriate Not At AllAppropriate
General fund spending 50% 32% 15%
Free 800 telephone numbers to call to get tourist information 47 35 15
Advertising to encourage visitors to come to that community 36 44 18
New visitor welcome centers 35 46 15
Pay salaries for the people who work in the local tourism office</

TRAVELERS WILL HIT THE BEACHES THIS SUMMER

Washington DC -- Nearly 50 million travelers are expected to hit the beaches this June, July and August according to the most recent TIA Travel Poll, a monthly survey conducted by the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA).

According to a survey of 1,200 U.S. adults conducted in May, over one-third of travelers (35%, 48.8 million adults) plan a trip of 100 miles or more, one-way, to visit a beach this summer. A higher share of men than women are beach-bound. Beach appeal is also high for those with children at home and travelers ages 18-34.

"American travelers love the beach. It is the ultimate outdoor vacation," said William S. Norman, president and CEO of the Travel Industry Association. "It seems to be the one type of vacation that is universally popular with every segment of Americans."

Nearly one-half of beach goers (45%, 22.1 million travelers) expect to stay overnight in a hotel or motel this summer. Another group, 29%, will stay with family or friends. Women are more likely than men to stay with family or friends (36% vs. 24%). Other accommodations will include vacation homes, campgrounds and bed & breakfasts.

TIA is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $552 billion travel industry. TIA's mission is to represent the whole of the U.S. travel industry to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States.

TRAVELER'S ZEAL FOR KIDS DEALS

Washington DC -- Nearly one-half of U.S. adults (46%) said they included a child (or children) on a trip in the past five years, and when family travelers hit the road they buy plenty of kids meals, according to a new survey by the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA).

The TIA Travel Poll, a monthly survey of 1,200 U.S. adults, found that 92 million U.S. adults took a child with them on a trip of 100 miles or more from home one-way in the past five years. Three-fourths of these travelers (76%) took their own child on the trip. Sixteen percent included grandchildren on a trip.

Nearly 60% of family travelers use children's services offered on the road including special meals, discounted lodging, videos and games, supervised activities and baby-sitting. Special kids meals (41%) and hotel discounts (30%) were the most popular service used by families when they travel.

Use of children's services varies by age and income. Among travelers taking children along, those aged 35-44 have the highest use of children's services (71%), while travelers aged 65+ have the lowest use (28%). As income increases, use of children's services also increases. Travelers with family incomes of $50,000+ have the highest use (67%), while travelers with family incomes of <$20,000 have the lowest use (30%).

Those with household incomes <$20,000 are twice as likely to travel with a grandchild (30%). Eight percent took a niece or nephew on the road. Six percent took children from another household on a trip.

TIA is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $552 billion travel industry. TIA's mission is to represent the whole of the U.S. travel industry to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States.

NOT JUST A VACATION, BUT AN ADVENTURE

Washington DC -- Americans have taken their passion for outdoor excitement and made it part of their vacation experience, according to The Adventure Travel Report ,1997 released today by the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA).The 100-page report, based on a national survey of 1,200 U.S. adults, found that one-half of Americans (98 million adults) have taken an adventure vacation in the past five years.

According to the report, 92 million adults (46%) took soft adventure vacations such as a skiing, sailing and horseback riding trips, while 31 million (16%) Americans took hard adventure vacations such as mountain climbing, sky diving and cave exploring. Twenty-five million Americans (13%) took both.

The most popular soft adventure activities were camping (33%), hiking (23%) and biking (14%) trips. The most popular hard adventure trips included whitewater rafting/kayaking (8%),snorkeling/scuba diving (6%) and off-road biking/mountain biking (5%). The report ranks the top 12 hard and soft adventure activities and the number of U.S. adults who participated in them (see charts).

"American travelers want their vacations to be more thrilling," said William S. Norman, president and CEO of the Travel Industry Association. "They are looking for new ways to challenge themselves, to push their physical energies to the edge and face nature at its boldest moments. That is what is driving America's fervor for adventure travel. But this trend is also about camaraderie among friends and spending quality time with family."

WEEKEND TRAVEL JUMPS BY 70%

Washington DC -- Weekend trips by Americans jumped by more than 70% in the past decade and now account for more than half of all U.S. travel, according to The Weekend Travel Report released by the Travel Industry Association of America.

According to the report, U.S. travelers took 356.8 million weekend trips in 1986 and by 1996 the number of weekend trips had increased to 604 million. At the same time non-weekend travel only increased from 484 million to 557 million trips. Weekend travel is defined as an overnight trip of 1 to 5 nights away from home including a Friday and/or Saturday night stay. The report does not include day trips.

"What is most interesting about these figures is that while the number of weekend trips grew by 70%, the U.S. adult population grew by only 10% during the same period," noted William S. Norman, President and CEO of the Travel Industry Association. "I think these results prove what many in our industry have known for years, that weekend travel has become enormously popular with America’s time-starved, two-income families."

According to the report, nearly 80% of all weekend travel is for pleasure, and weekend trips are popular year round. Summer is the most popular time for weekend travel, accounting for 28% of all weekend trips. Spring was second, with 26% of all weekend trips and Fall travel accounted for 25% of all weekend travel. Winter, which accounted for 21% of all weekend trips, is the only time of the year when travelers take more weekday than weekend trips.

In addition, the report found some significant differences between weekend travelers and non-weekend travelers. Non-weekend travelers travel In larger groups (2.4 people vs. 2.1 people) and 41% of all weekend travelers travel with their children compared to just 30% of non-weekend travelers. Predictably, weekend travelers tend to travel shorter distances than non-weekend travelers, traveling 706 miles on average, compared to 986 miles.

The report also found that weekend travelers are far less likely to consult with or book their travel with a travel agent. TIA found that 15% of non-weekend travelers say they use a travel agent , compared to 8% of weekend travelers and while 11% of non-weekend travelers say they use a travel agent for booking travel only 6% of weekend travel say they use an agent.

The Weekend Travel Report is based on the National Travel Survey, which includes 16,341 telephone interviews of U.S. adults conducted in 1996.

CITY ROAD IMPROVEMENTS

The city has taken the lead in ensuring a pleasant visit by adding new roads in the area. Since 1991, an estimated $40 million as been spent on more than 18 miles of new and reconstructed roads. This network of new roads has been designed to work in concert with improvements to state highways to ease the visitors ability to get to and around the popular MO Highway 76 which is the address of hundreds of theaters, hotels, restaurants and family attractions.

First Springfield-Branson Airport Expansion Grant Announced by Bond & Blunt

Washington, DCSpringfield, Missouri – After receiving notice from Congressman Blunt last week about new planning money for a new mid-field airport terminal, the Springfield-Branson Regional Airport got more good news today. The U.S. Department of Transportation has approved the first grant for $7.656 million to build major runway improvements at Springfield-Branson Regional Airport according to U.S. Senator Christopher ‘Kit’ Bond and Southwest Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt. The funding is the first part of a previously announced federal commitment for an extensive $30 million, multi-year overhaul of the runways and taxi areas at the Springfield airport.

“Getting the money for the airport proves we are doing great work together," said Bond, who often visits the Springfield/Branson Regional Airport during his frequent trips around the state to visit with Missourians. "A better airport binds Southern Missouri even more strongly into the national economy. The Springfield area is growing and this airport has got to keep up," said Bond. "Infrastructure is key to growth and a better equipped Springfield/Branson Regional Airport will allow us to meet the growing air traffic needs of the whole Southern Missouri region." Included in the funding from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is $5.4 million in earmarked appropriations inserted in the Transportation Appropriations Act of 2000 by Senator Bond. Congressman Blunt said, “Senator Bond deserves great credit for his foresight and quick response to Southwest Missouri’s aviation needs. His spot on the Senate Appropriations Committee has put him in a position to pinpoint help on key issues facing the economic needs of our region.”

Blunt said, “Continued airport modernization is critical to the economic development efforts in Southwest Missouri to bring more good paying jobs to the area, and to give air travelers easy access to more markets in the United States and abroad. The airport serves 700,000 commercial travelers a year and that number is growing steadily. We have to prepare our airport for more people, bigger planes, more take-offs and landing with increased safety. These improvements are an essential part of reaching those goals.”

The federal grant will be used to extend the airport’s secondary runway (14/32) and build taxiway “U”. The FAA said the work is “fundamental airport development to improve safety and efficient movement of aircraft.” The project include reconstruction of the 28 year old main runway (2/20) to extend its useful life Blunt Announces First Grant for New Midfield Terminal at Springfield-Branson Regional Airport

Springfield, Missouri – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has notified Southwest Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt that a grant to conduct an environmental analysis on a 460 acre site for a future airport terminal in Springfield has been approved. Blunt has informed Springfield-Branson Aviation Director Rob Hancik about the $325,000 grant. Hancik said, “The consultants are ready to move. This is the required first step in efforts to build a new midfield terminal.”

Blunt acknowledged the importance of planning for the future terminal. ““The ability of our airport to continue to effectively meet the growing needs of the citizens of this area is an essential factor in the continued growth of jobs and businesses in Southwest Missouri. It would likely take six years to complete a new terminal complex, so its not too soon to start the real planning on how the project would layout. A new airport terminal will be the hub of stronger links to the world and a stronger economy for Southwest Missouri,” Blunt said.

Forecasts indicate the Springfield airport will reach maximum capacity on vehicle and aircraft parking as well as passenger gates by 2016, making construction of a new terminal essential for safe, efficient air travel at the regional airport. Hancik said, “More than 700,000 people use the airport’s six commercial airlines and that number continues to increase each year. Community leaders would like to see the airport improvements completed by the end of this decade, but the environmental analysis starts the process for a new midfield terminal.”

Blunt also informed Hancik of a second FAA grant to the Springfield-Branson Regional Airport for improved safety equipment. The $1.2 million grant will pay for the purchase of additional snow removal equipment necessary to serve the additional areas being paved at the airport. Over the next few years the airport’s secondary runway will be lengthened significantly and the main runway overhauled. The federal grant will also pay for new fire suits used by the aircraft rescue and firefighters that meet current FAA standards.

OLDER NEWER
Northwest Airlines Announces Service Between Minneapolis-St.Paul and Springfield-Branson, Mo.

Nonstop Jet Service to Begin June 14

MINNEAPOLIS, March 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Northwest Airlines today announced nonstop service between its hub at Minneapolis- St. Paul International Airport and Springfield-Branson, Mo. Two daily flights will be offered, beginning June 14.

"With this new service, Northwest Airlines and its Northwest Airlink partners will offer unparalleled choices for the residents of southwest Missouri, as well as the thousands of visitors who visit the Ozark region for the live entertainment and scenery," said Tom Bach, vice president of market planning and Airlink. "These new flights, together with existing service between Springfield-Branson and our hubs at Memphis and Detroit, will provide additional convenient connections to cities throughout the United States, Canada, Asia and Europe."

Springfield-Branson will be the 163rd destination served nonstop from Minneapolis-St. Paul. Northwest currently serves Springfield Branson Regional Airport with three daily flights to its hub at Memphis, Tenn., and one daily flight to its WorldGateway hub at Detroit.

The company also announced that, beginning June 10, two of the three daily Memphis flights will be upgraded from a Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) to a DC-9, providing the only mainline aircraft service at Springfield-Branson and the only first-class cabin in the market.

"The community is very supportive of Northwest, and excited about the new service enhancements," said Robert D. Hancik, director of aviation at Springfield Branson Regional Airport. "The addition of Minneapolis-St. Paul as a hub is excellent for southwest Missouri, providing a gateway to the Pacific Northwest and Asia. The larger aircraft to Memphis will help fulfill the increased demand for seats on Northwest that we have been experiencing for the past year. We're very pleased that Northwest has been enjoying growth in this market while providing us with superior air service."

"Northwest's new year-round, daily service to the Springfield-Branson airport will make our area even more accessible to people from around the world who wish to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Ozarks," said U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who often uses Northwest's Memphis hub. "Northwest's increased number of flights, larger planes and the new connection to Minneapolis-St. Paul offer greater choices for travelers. This is good news for everyone who travels from Springfield-Branson and people who visit Southwest Missouri every day."

The new Minneapolis-St. Paul service will be operated with Northwest Airlink partner Pinnacle Airlines Corp.'s 44- or 50-passenger CRJ. The CRJ features a spacious cabin with comfortable two-by-two leather seating and other cabin amenities similar to larger jets, such as overhead bins, a galley, lavatory, and an efficient climate control system to ensure passenger comfort.

New Minneapolis-St. Paul -- Springfield-Branson service*

Flight number: Departs: Arrives: Aircraft:

NW 3719 10:10 a.m. 11:50 a.m. CRJ
NW 3733 3:10 p.m. 5:00 p.m. CRJ

New Springfield-Branson -- Minneapolis-St. Paul service*

Flight number: Departs: Arrives: Aircraft:

NW 3724 10:40 a.m. 12:20 p.m. CRJ
NW 3745 6:25 p.m. 8:05 p.m. CRJ
* Service begins June 14, 2004

NORTHWEST MARKS NEW SERVICE WITH FREQUENT FLYER MILES BONUS OFFER

Members of Northwest's WorldPerks program can earn up to 1,000 WorldPerks bonus miles when they fly roundtrip on this new nonstop service between June 14 and Aug. 14, 2004.

Northwest Airlines is the world's fourth largest airline with hubs at Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Memphis, Tokyo and Amsterdam, and approximately 1,500 daily departures. With its travel partners, Northwest serves nearly 750 cities in almost 120 countries on six continents.

Sale of Grandvista Resorts Announced
Press Release: Grandvista LLC -- Aril 28, 2004

BRANSON, MO -- Richard E. Huffman. Chief Executive Officer of Grandvista, LLC, today announced the sale of Grandvista's resorts and their sales and marketing locations to

Westgate Resorts, Ltd. of Orlando, Florida. This sale includes Grandvista's timeshare resorts: Grandvista's Emerald Pointe Resort, Grandvista's Woods, and Branson Yacht Club in Branson Missouri; Grandvista's Vacation Suites at Tunica, Tunica Mississippi and Grandvista's Painted Mountain Golf Resort in Mesa Arizona.

Westgate Resorts is the largest privately held timeshare company in the world with over 300,000 owners and 8,000 employees. Westgate owns and operates luxurious resorts in Orlando and Miami Beach, Florida, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Williamsburg, Virginia, Park City, Utah and Las Vegas, Nevada.

"We have been looking for the right opportunity in the Branson market for a long time. The purchase of Grandvista allows us to enter Branson with the best timeshare opportunity in the area. Our goal is to be the #1 timeshare developer in Branson. We have also created a relationship with Rick Huffman, Marc Williams and Sam Catanese which will be long-term and mutually beneficial for years to come," said David Siegel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Westgate.

"We are pleased with this sale, as it will be a good move for both companies. Westgate offers expansion and enhancement to the timeshare industry and this allows the partnership of Marc Williams, Sam Catanese and myself to concentrate on other developments in the United States including the Branson Landing Project, a $300,000,000.00 public/private partnership in Branson Missouri," stated Huffman.

Amusement park removes games Celebration City yanks 3 devices police say may be illegal; no charges planned.

Branson — Operators of Celebration City amusement park have removed three arcade games that authorities say may have been illegal gambling devices, calling their installation at the park "an honest mistake." On Friday, following an anonymous complaint, Branson police inspected the park's games and warned management that three machines called "sliders" were "just on the edge" of violating state gaming statutes, said Capt. Kevin Powell of the Branson Police DepartmentAmusement park removes games Celebration City yanks 3 devices police say may be illegal; no charges planned. Branson — Operators of Celebration City amusement park have removed three arcade games that authorities say may have been illegal gambling devices, calling their installation at the park "an honest mistake."

Branson hits some high-class notes
Missouri town adds sophistication to hoedown repertoire

In fact, this southern Missouri town of 6,500 in the shadow of the Ozark Mountains is trying to attract a broader spectrum of tourists than the seniors and families who've made it a top U.S. tourist destination eversince aging Nashville stars began opening theaters here in the early '80s.

The area's charms include "countryside that's beautiful, if you like outdoor stuff." The aspen-dotted hills, the streams and lakes stocked with trout and bass. Branson Creek, a Tom Fazio-designed beauty that's been rated one of the nations 100 best public courses by Golf Digest.

Getting There: Branson is just under an hour's drive from the Springfield/Branson Regional Airport; carriers include American, Northwest and United Express.

Fine Dining: Sunday's all -you-can-eat champagne brunch at Big Cedar Lodge (27.95) is a local institution.

Bar Hopping: Branson performers belly up at funky Tsunami and dance at Wildwood Flower/Ain't Misbehavin'

A troupe of jugglers and acrobats enthrall the near-capacity crowd at the Remington Theatre with a fantastical tale of an enchanted jungle. There's no dialogue - just Cirque du Soleil-style glow-in-the-dark costumes and dazzling aerial feats performed by European gymnasts to thumping music. Adult tickets cost $35 each - less than half what you'd pay to see similar fare in Las Vegas.
The driveway to Big Cedar Lodge snakes past forests with twittering birds and views of Table Rock Lake. This former getaway of a railroad magnate, 9 miles south of Branson, became a resort, with stables, spa, Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, rustic-elegant lodge and private log cabins - including one where George and Barbara Bush once stayed.

Similar in setting and ambience to an exclusive Adirondack retreat, it boasts a big-production Sunday champagne brunch in the beamed main dining room. Up on the scenic golf course, Dan Irwin of Gilroy, Calif., is finishing a round with family members celebration his in-laws' 50th anniversary. He is used to paying $80-$100 for 18 holes; here it costs $45. "This is a bargain, an amazing place," he says. "I'm telling all my buddies about it."The mood is laid-back and friendly. It feels like the perfect nightcap to a weekend of unexpected pleasures

MOONSHINE BEACH OPENING DELAYED

By Press Release 05/23/2003

(Branson, MO) Moonshine Beach, a day-use park on the north end of Table Rock Dam, will not open as planned on Memorial Day Weekend. The scheduled opening has been pushed back because recent repeated rains delayed construction.

Moonshine Beach is being relocated because of the construction of the Auxiliary Spillway. The new beach will be located just north of the old beach, utilizing the same entrance road as in the past off Missouri Highway 165. The launch ramp will be closed during the 2003 recreation season as spillway construction continues.

The Corps will advise the public when a new opening date is determined. Park Ranger Rodney Raley said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is tentatively planning a dedication ceremony for the new Moonshine Beach on July 1.

Turner Reports Strong Results for Second Quarter 2004
- $2 Billion of New Contracts Secured in Second Quarter -

DALLAS, Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The Turner Corporation, the nation's leading general builder, today reported strong earnings results for the second quarter of 2004.

The value of new contracts secured in the second quarter was $2 billion. For the first six months of 2004, the value of new contracts secured totaled $4.5 billion. Gross sales earnings were $55 million, down slightly from the $57 million for the corresponding period last year.

The company's anticipated backlog earnings as of June 30 was $247.2 million. This represents an increase of 6 % over the $ 233 million reported as of June 30, 2003. Construction backlog volume increased to $8.5 billion as of June 30.

The value of construction completed for the quarter was $1.8 billion, an increase over the $1.5 billion reported in the same period last year. Earnings from construction contracts were $45.3 million, higher than last year at $44.7 million. According to Thomas C. Leppert, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Turner Corporation, "Turner's accomplishment in achieving another strong quarter reflects the dedication and hard work of our staff and clients. Despite the increasing cost of steel and cement, Turner has continued to perform well. Compared to the results for the first half of 2003, we have shown a 20 percent increase in sales in 2004 with continued strength in both the commercial and education sectors."

New contracts won during the second quarter of 2004 include: A baggage screening facility at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Seattle, Wash.; construction of the Health Sciences building at the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, Ga.; renovation of Phase 5 U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago, Ill.; construction for HCW Development Company's 95-acre mixed-use project at Branson Landing Phase I in a joint venture with Walton Construction Company, Branson, Mo.; renovation of Santa Monica Community College Theater, Santa Monica, Calif.; a 75-story office tower on Ford Field Complex, Detroit, Mich.; St. Francis College academic center, Brooklyn, N.Y.; an addition to the Critical Care Pavilion, Licking Memorial Health System, Newark, Ohio; and University of North Carolina at Charlotte, College of Health and Human

Resources, Charlotte, N.C.

Among the projects completed were the University Center of Chicago, Chicago, Ill.; Baxter Healthcare Fractionation Center, Glendale, Calif.; structural security work at John Wayne Airport, Irvine, Calif.; Taylor Building, Department of Defense, Crystal City, Va.; Culver Plaza Retail Center, Irvine, Calif.; University of Notre Dame Performing Arts Center, Notre Dame, Ind.; the renovation at the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, Calif.; and Arizona State University student union, Mesa, Az.

About Turner

Turner is the leading general builder in the U.S., ranking first or second in the major segments of the building construction field. During 2003, Turner completed $6.1 billion of construction. Turner is the only builder offering clients a network of 46 offices across the U.S. Founded in 1902, the firm was acquired in 1999 by HOCHTIEF, one of the world's leading international construction companies.

THE TURNER CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
(in thousands, except share amounts)

(unaudited) (unaudited)
Three Months Ended Six Months Ended
June 30, June 30,
2004 2003 2004 2003

Value of construction
completed $1,778,705 $1,521,162 $3,253,127 $2,973,160

Revenue from construction
contracts $1,767,787 $1,485,600 $3,233,770 $2,907,725

Cost of construction
contracts 1,722,459 1,440,860 3,141,320 2,813,898

Earnings from construction
contracts $45,328 $44,740 $92,450 $93,827

New contracts secured $4,506,238 $3,765,783
Backlog volume $8,455,049 $6,742,964

Sales: Value of New Contracts Secured
First Six Months 2004
$4.5 billion

Building Types Sales Volume a/o 6/30/04 % of Total
Commercial/Retail 849 19%
Interiors/Renovations 859 19%
Pharmaceutical/Manufacturing 212 5%
Education/Science 835 18%
Healthcare 631 14%
Public/Justice 345 8%
Sports/Entertainment 183 4%
Residential/Hotel 272 6%
Transportation/Misc. 320 7%
4,506 100%

Escapes! Begins Construction on Its Eighth Resort
Galveston Island Resort Built in Partnership with County

Press Release: Escapes!, Inc. June 24, 2004

GALVESTON, TX -- Escapes!, Inc., one of the leading and oldest independent timeshare development companies, has begun construction on its eighth resort, Escapes! to the Gulf at Galveston. Slated to open in 2005, the resort marks an unprecedented public-private partnership between Galveston County, Texas, and Escapes!, in which the two entities are sharing resources to construct a beachfront public park and a private, mid-rise condominium on Galveston Island.

The joint projects, on Galveston Island's West End, include a $16 million, approximately 75-unit condominium resort for Escapes! members--the only resort fronting the beach, a newly completed 3,314-square-foot public beach pavilion, an educational wetlands preserve, beach access points and public and private parking. Pavilion amenities include an additional 7,299 square feet of outside decking for a scenic gulf view, picnic facilities, indoor showers, full wheelchair accessibility, a food concession and merchandise sales.

"Escapes! is growing and developing in new markets with Galveston representing our third Gulf Coast resort," said Escapes! President T.L. Spencer. "Our expansion beyond golfing and lake resorts was based on members' demand for beachfront property. We are delighted to work in partnership with Galveston County in building this resort and providing a unique vacation ownership opportunity to consumers in a desirable tourist destination."

Escapes! has developed resorts in Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, Alabama and Florida and plans to open several additional resorts in the coming years. Its timeshare resorts include: Escapes! to Bella Vista Village, Escapes! to Hot Springs Village, and Escapes! to Cherokee Village, all in Arkansas; Escapes! to StoneBridge Village and Escapes! to Branson Yacht Club, both in Branson, Mo.; and Escapes! to the Gulf at Orange Beach, Alabama. A resort in Panama City Beach, Fla., will open later this year.

The county/Escapes! partnership agreement included an exchange of Escapes! property adjoining Frank Carmona Beach Pocket Park No. 2. The county will configure its parking to the west of the pavilion protecting the wetland area. In this configuration, the county gains almost double the amount of linear beach frontage, an additional dune walkover, and approximately $500,000 in improvements to parking, landscaping, lighting and enhancements to the wetland area.

"Escapes! is grateful to county leaders who saw the numerous public benefits of making these projects work cohesively. The county gains a financially secure private partner and tax base growth. This new resort also gives Escapes! the opportunity to introduce thousands of its vacation ownership members to Galveston Island. We are optimistic that our members will find this as appealing and special a place as we do," said Spencer.

"In keeping with our company's long tradition of environmental preservation, Escapes! is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as well as wildlife and preservation specialists, to preserve a unique wetland area for education and enjoyment for generations to come," Spencer added.

County Judge Jim Yarbrough said, "This partnership is a great win-win for the county and Escapes! We helped facilitate bringing one of the country's most respected residential and resort developers to Galveston, and that will in turn bring thousands of tourists to Galveston and enhance the public park at no expense to county taxpayers."

The beach pavilion, originally destroyed during Tropical Storm Francis in 1997, has been reconstructed, largely with federal funds, and will be open for the 2004 summer season.

Escapes! began construction in March, with projected completion in May 2005. The U-shaped, raised, five-story structure features a central resort recreation area with a swimming pool overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. The combined dramatic structures and lush tropical plantings throughout the development will enhance the resort-style tropical setting.

The new Galveston Escapes! Sales Center, which opened at the site in April, is currently selling vacation ownership interests at other Escapes! properties, Spencer added. The company plans to launch vacation sales of its first Texas resort in July, pending regulatory approval, giving priority first to the 14,000 current Escapes! members, and then primarily targeting consumers in the Gulf Coast and Midwest regions who live within driving distance of the new resort.

Headquartered in Rogers, Ark., Escapes! is a subsidiary of Cooper Communities. Now in its 50th year, the company is renowned as one of the nation's largest and most innovative builders of homes and golf courses. More than 100,000 families own property in one of the six Cooper communities.

Levitt Commercial Initiates Construction On Its “For Sale Flex Units” at High Ridge Commerce Center

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – July 30, 2002 - Levitt Commercial, a subsidiary of Levitt Companies, announced today the start of construction on the High Ridge Commerce Center, a “For Sale Flex Unit” complex, in Boynton Beach, FL. The property contains nearly six acres of direct frontage on Interstate I-95.

In addition to office, showroom, warehouse and industrial units, the 70,000 square foot High Ridge Commerce Center will provide each unit with frontage, signage and direct visibility to over 137,000 cars daily via I-95. Further, customers enjoy 24-foot ceilings, grade level overhead doors and recessed dock high doors, full fire sprinklers, abundant parking, mezzanines and all the benefits of ownership with available financing up to 90%. Units are available starting from 4,648 square feet.

“Demand for the High Ridge Commerce Center ‘For Sale Flex Unit’ complex has been extremely high and we have already pre-sold 50% of the units,” commented Seth Wise, President of Levitt Commercial. “Business owners are able to capitalize on the prime location, feature rich facilities, low interest rates, potential property appreciation and eliminate ever increasing rents, while enjoying the tax benefits of ownership.”

CMSI, Inc. is the General Contractor for the development and The Fitzgerald Group Commercial Realtors are marketing the project.

About Levitt Corporation:

Levitt Commercial, a subsidiary of Levitt Companies, specializes in development, re-development, and joint venture opportunities in industrial and retail properties.

Levitt Companies, a subsidiary of BankAtlantic Bancorp (NYSE: BBX) is the parent company of Levitt and Sons, Core Communities and Levitt Commercial. Levitt and Sons, America's oldest homebuilder and first to build planned suburban communities, currently develops single-family homes in its active adult residential developments throughout Florida. Core Communities develops master-planned communities in Florida, including its original and best known, St. Lucie West – a 4,600-acre community with 4,000 built and occupied homes, 150 businesses employing 5,000 people and a university campus. New master-planned developments include Westchester, now under development on Florida’s Treasure Coast in St. Lucie County, featuring 5,600 residences, a commercial town center and the area's first world-class corporate park. Live Oak Preserve is a 1,285-acre master-planned, gated community under development in the rapidly growing Tampa Bay Region. Levitt Companies recently acquired a 40% ownership interest in Bluegreen Corporat
ion (NYSE: BXG), which engages in the acquisition, development, marketing and sale of drive-to vacation resorts, golf communities and residential land. The Company’s resorts are located in a variety of popular vacation destinations including Orlando, Florida; the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; Branson, Missouri; Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin; Gordonsville, Virginia; Ridgedale, Missouri; Surfside, Florida; and Aruba, while its land operations are predominantly located in the Southeastern and Southwestern United States.

About BankAtlantic Bancorp:

BankAtlantic Bancorp (NYSE: BBX) is a diversified financial services holding company and the parent company of BankAtlantic, Levitt Companies, and Ryan, Beck & Co., LLC. Through these subsidiaries, BankAtlantic Bancorp provides a full line of products and services encompassing consumer and commercial banking, brokerage and investment banking, and real estate development.

MISSOURI ECONOMY BOOSTED BY TIMESHARE INDUSTRY
Study Shows Timeshare Industry Brings Money, Jobs to Missouri

Washington, D.C. -An independent study released on the timeshare industry shows that Missouri's timeshare industry greatly benefits from the over 355,000 owners and exchangers who travel to the state annually. By directly spending $391.5 million, themselves, timeshare owners, guests and operators generated another $305.7 million in purchases from business suppliers and household purchases by employees to create the total $697.2 million in sales ranging from hotels, restaurants and other travel-related operations to agriculture, manufacturing, transportation and personal services. This economic activity created 10,183 jobs, paying $213.0 million in wages and benefits to workers across the state of Missouri.

The study titled, “The Economic Impact of the Missouri Timeshare Industry,” was conducted for the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) by American Economics Group, Inc., found that the Missouri timeshare industry “contributes significantly to the economic well-being of the state by creating sales, jobs, wages and benefits in over 500 separate industries.” The study also stated that, "hotels, restaurant, theaters and retail stores benefited immensely from timeshare operations, marketing, guests and construction."

The U.S. leads the world in vacation ownership with 1,819 resorts and more than three million owners. In 1993, there were only 8 timeshare resorts in the state of Missouri compared to 41 today. “We are thrilled to see further proof that the recent growth in the timeshare industry is a win-win situation for the visitors and the local residents. The timeshare owners get a quality, affordable vacation in Missouri, while the local communities are able to reap the benefits of expanded economic activity from travelers and increased job opportunities from the resorts,” stated Howard Nusbaum, President of ARDA. In 1999 there were 2,441 total timeshare units in the state, with 81% of those units are located in Branson. Approximately, 71% of units statewide are 2 bedroom or larger with an average of 60 units per resort. In the year 2000, an additional 863 timeshare units were constructed statewide.

Timeshare resort activities produced over $7.9 million in state and local tax revenue for the state of Missouri. Mr. Charles deSeve, of AEG stated that, “it is important to remember that the economic activities of the timeshare visitors, guests, operations, marketing and construction not only complement but directly benefit other tourism-related industries such as hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters and other entertainment.”

The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is a non-profit trade association located in Washington, D.C. ARDA represents the interests of over 1,600 resorts, including second home resorts, vacation timeshare developers, fractional interests as well as timeshare homeowners' associations and individual timeshare owners across the country.

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