Branson Airport and free shows at Branson Landing

There have been those who have been upset with what the Ole Seagull has written about the alleged agreement between the city and the airport and start out conversations with words such as “Why are you against the airport?” Being against the unconscionable agreement that the pre 2007 board and administration tried to saddle the city with is, in an Ole Seagull’s opinion, not being “against the airport.” Why would anyone, including the Ole Seagull, be against the Branson Airport or anything else that brings people to Branson?

He is definitely not as euphoric and giddy about the new airport as some, believing that it’s just another airport that gives people more options to get to and from Branson. Now that could change if there were some definitive studies establishing that the people flying into the Branson Airport are more likely to go to Branson shows or attractions, stay in hotel rooms, eat in Branson restaurants, shop or spend more money in Branson than those flying into Branson through other airports such as the Springfield-Branson National Airport, Lambert St. Louis International Airport or others.

“But the low prices, aren’t they wonderful?” Absolutely, but there’s more to air travel than simply low prices and the neat thing for both those traveling into and out of Branson is that, with the Branson Airport they have yet another option to consider in making their Branson air travel decisions. Interestingly, a bus load of Branson High School Choir members and their sponsors will be leaving for a trip to New York this week. The reason the word “bus” is being used is because they will be bused to and from the Lambert St. Louis International Airport for their air travel.

The Ole Seagull has received questions and concerns about the “Free Shows” being held on the “Public Square” at Branson Landing. Generally they revolve around, “Didn’t they tell us there would be no shows down at Branson Landing while they were in the process of getting it approved and built?” To the best of an Ole Seagull’s recollection there were concerns expressed in that regard and responses that could have created that impression during the “Branson Landing Process,” but at the end of the day it doesn’t mean a thing.

The fact of the matter is that there is a written agreement/lease between the City of Branson and the developer (HCW) for about 99 years. Simply put, the agreement rules. If it’s not specifically prohibited in that agreement and is not otherwise unlawful then HCW, just like any other business leasing property, can do what it wants with its leased property, including concerts or shows whether paid, free or otherwise.

“Couldn’t the city have prohibited free shows at the Landing?” Sure there could have been language to that effect put in the agreement prohibiting that or any other legal activity that the city didn’t want conducted on the leased property, but it didn’t happen.
To an Ole Seagull, it’s heart breaking to see theatres, and for that matter other businesses, having to compete against “free shows” at the Landing or a project made entirely possible because of a government subsidy, but that’s the way it is and it’s not going to change. “Now hold on Seagull, the Landing the brings lots of people to Branson who spend money and time at places other than Branson Landing.”

The last part is obviously true, but the Ole Seagull has a tough time swallowing the first part. He would love to see a study of what has brought more people to Branson since 2005, the opening of Branson Landing or the additional marketing done since the voters approved the 1% retail sales tax for tourism which went in effect early in 2006? Now here’s the start of an interesting survey question, “Of the following which, if any, was the most influential in your decision to come to Branson? (Although it might be a combination of items please pick the one item on the list that most influenced your decision.)

a. Branson Airport
b. Branson’s shows
d. Branson Landing
e. Silver Dollar City
f. Branson’s Lakes
g. Branson’s natural beauty
h. None of the above.

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