To an Ole Seagull Branson Airport is only as important as the number of new visitors it brings to Branson or the services it provides to the residents of our area. He would also point out that the only value to his columns, if any, is the extent to which it causes people to think about the issues raised not whether or not his position is correct because, at the end of the day, his position is but that of a tired old man in the winter of his years.
Last week’s column contained a section entitled “WOW, do Branson Airport Visitors Spend More?” In its entirety it said, “Those attending the annual meeting of the Branson Lakes Area Tourism Community Enhancement District on Sep. 24 were given information by Branson Lakes/Lakes Area Convention and Visitors Bureau that the average spending “per party” was $919.34 for the 2009 reporting period up from $799.99 for the 2008 reporting period. That was good, but nothing compared to the report given by Jeff Bourke, Executive Director of the Branson Airport. A published report in this week’s Taney County Times on that report states “The Branson Airport has generated $92 million in visitor spending…” and that “At least 41 percent of the more than 10,000 people who have flown to Branson via the airport are first time visitors.” Using Ole Seagull math and assuming that it’s not much more than 10,000 people, that amounts to an incredible $9,200 per person or $18,400 for a “party” of two.”
It was meant to be a no brainer “tongue in cheek” piece. As is the case with most of the Ole Seagull’s columns, it was published on www.1Branson.com in the Ole Seagull’s forum. The comments there were varied, but most folks realized that the $92 million dollar figure was not accurate and got with the spirit of the occasion. Those comments ranged from Dalmation Dad’s comment “It’s obvious we need more planes and then more banks to hold all that new money” to the more dramatic comment of the every faithful Grizzly who said, “The guy got a decimal point moved and it rates a smack down from the Seagull. good thing I never made a mistake before.”
“What smack down?” The piece merely pointed out an exact quote from the Taney Country Times. What’s next accusing the Ole Seagull of a “smack down” if he asks, “How many tax payer marketing dollars have been spent to market the airport for each of the approximately 36 new visitors Branson gets per day from the airport?”
When the cancellation of Sun Country’s flights was announced KOLR TV reported, “KOLR10 News has learned that Sun Country Airlines will end its service to Dallas and Minneapolis on December 12. Branson Airport leaders say Sun Country was only here for seasonal service. They hope to renegotiate with the airline and bring the service back when the spring tourism season starts in April.”
Is it a “smack down” to ask, “Does Branson ‘season’ end on October 17” or “Exactly what service is Sun Country providing from Dallas to Branson between October 17 and December 12?” The reason the Ole Seagull asks is that he is looking at the Sun Country schedule at this very moment and doesn’t see any. Did he miss the public announcement to that effect?