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Branson spared impact by state tourism cuts

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Gov. Jay Nixon's $3.7 million budget cut for the Missouri Division of Tourism will have no immediate impact on the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, according to chamber President Ross Summers.

The midyear withholding - for the fiscal year ending June 30 and announced by Nixon in late February - will only affect some of the media buys the state's tourism division would have made this spring and summer, Summers said.

"We are told it will not affect the cooperative program," of which the chamber is a part of as a direct marketing organization, Summers said.

The cuts in state-placed advertising will reduce newspaper inserts and some media buys in markets such as Chicago. The chamber places media buys in a similar manner for the Branson/tri-lakes area tourism industry.

The co-op program is for organizations within the state that have been designated as DMOs. The Branson/Lakes chamber serves as the DMO for Branson and the Table Rock Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, and receives the maximum amount of reimbursement from the tourism division for its marketing. Summers said the program is a 50 percent match, in which the Branson chamber spends $1.2 million for the Branson area and receives $660,000 in reimbursement. The partnership with the Table Rock Lake chamber results in $400,000 worth of media buys and a reimbursement of $200,000.

"We have to report to the state on the effects of the tax dollars we use," Summers added.

The Branson chamber also serves as a contracted marketing coordinator for the region's Tourism Community Enhancement District, which covers the area from Silver Dollar City in Stone County east to Lake Taneycomo in Branson. The district, which was approved by voters in April 2006, collects a 1-cent retail sales tax, to be used for advertising local attractions, motels, hotels and restaurants.

The Branson chamber's advertising budget this year is $7.6 million.[[In-content Ad]]

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