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State Senate cuts tourism budget

Cuts could affect Branson, Lakes area

officials say roughly $650,000 could disappear.

April 30, 2012|By Dustin Hodges, KY3 News | dhodges@ky3.com

BRANSON, Mo. - The Missouri Senate is taking a chunk out of the state's tourism budget. The state cut $3,000,000 or a quarter of its total budget for promoting tourism. This is the second time in three years they've seen a significant cut.

The state spent $13,400,000 last year; three years ago the state's tourism budget was about $21,000,000. Tourism is responsible for about $625,000,000 in revenue to the state every year, which officials say funds programs like education and health care.

The City of Branson gets some of this revenue thorough what's called the co-op marketing program, so this will directly impact the amount of money spent promoting Branson as a tourist destination.

"We'll have about $650,000 less than we had last year; and that's real money when you talk over a half-million fewer dollars than you had last year; that's less people that we can contact, it's a weaker message and doesn't carry as far," says Ross Summers, President/CEO of the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce.

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Summers also says you need to be in that top-of-mind awareness for travelers, and this will hurt Branson's ability to compete with places like Texas, Florida and California.

The House and Senate will soon start negotiating on a compromised final budget so there's still a chance it could change.

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