Development Booms in World-Class Vacation Destination

Travelers Discover Diverse Entertainment Experience in Branson, Missouri

BRANSON, Mo., March 14 /PRNewswire/ — Not since the boom years of the mid-1990s has this town of approximately 6,500 seen the kind of record-setting new development and expansion of entertainment and vacation amenities that are taking place in 2005. This year, the city is anticipating $125 million in new theaters, attractions, golf courses, shopping centers, restaurants, hotels, resorts and residential and vacation housing. The previous record of $119 million was set in 1993. A Top 20 vacation destination, Branson attracts an estimated 7.2 million visitors to southwest Missouri each year.

Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau President and CEO Ross Summers said new visitors will be surprised at what the town has to offer, and those familiar with Branson will find even more ways to have fun than ever before in 2005. Visit http://www.explorebranson.com/ or call 1-800-BRANSON for information.

“What has made Branson such a popular vacation destination has also made it attractive to new and expanding businesses,” he said. “Our unique combination of world-class entertainment in close proximity to outdoor and lake recreation, along with our famous Ozark Mountain hospitality is what sets Branson apart from other major destinations.”

Among the new attractions visitors will find in 2005 are Silver Dollar City’s $10 million explosive launch roller coaster called Powder Keg. The ride, which blasts riders from 0 to 53 miles per hour in just 2.8 seconds, is one of only three like it in the world, according to Brad Thomas, general manager for the 1880′s theme park.

The $40 million Celebration City amusement park will unveil the new $2 million NightFire! spectacular in April featuring a five-story mountainside video projection, fire cannons with 150-foot flames, three-dimensional visuals, laser lights, water effects, and pyrotechnics.

The Acrobats of China featuring the New Shanghai Circus will open their 8th season in Branson on May 15 at the brand new 900-seat New Shanghai Theatre.

Springfield, Missouri-based development company John Q. Hammons Hotels, Inc., owner of the four-diamond Chateau on the Lake, has added Spa Botanica, a $2 million, 10,000 square foot addition. Last year, the company announced its intention to build an 18-story five-star hotel adjacent to the Chateau in 2007.

World-famous magician David Copperfield will perform a limited engagement at the Andy Williams Moon River Theatre June 13-26, and legendary pop star Petula Clark will join Williams in the spring and fall.

Other new developments planned for 2005 include a 100,000 square-foot Boyds Bear Country teddy bear store; “Titanic: The Legend Continues” attraction featuring more than 400 original artifacts from the fateful ship; the Belair Theatre starring Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers and Paul Revere and the Raiders; a 32,000-square foot 1957 vintage car exhibit; the $50 million Branson Mill Craft Village; and an Arnold Palmer-designed signature practice facility at Top of the Rock Golf Course overlooking Table Rock Lake. Branson’s single largest new development currently under construction is … CONTINUED … (Full press release can be viewed on http://www.explorebranson.com/ .)

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