WHAT OTHERS SAY: Don't cancel Branson visit

Friday, March 2, 2012 | 1:13 p.m. CST

The tourist season for Branson and the Ozarks lakes area has not been blown away.

We warn those considering changing their travel plans to the area after the tornadoes: Don’t do it. You’ll be missing out on a great time.

The storms that swept through the Ozarks late Tuesday and early Wednesday tore up houses, a large resort and marina in Kimberling City and several theaters, motels and businesses in nationally known Branson. And our condolences go out to the families and friends of the three Missouri residents who died in the storms.

As the Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau points out, only five or six attractions suffered severe damage – out of more than 100 such venues. Also there are over 200 motels total, with 12 to 15 of those damaged. And, the famous Missouri 76 strip and Branson Landing downtown did seem to be on the tornado’s hit list.

But as Stone County Presiding Commissioner Dennis Wood said, “It’s a disaster, and it’s bad, but all this can be fixed.”

We have no doubt it will be fixed – and soon. So we urge potential visitors from across the country to “com’n down” and enjoy our talented performers, good food and beautiful hills and lakes.

And we urge area residents to do their part. Not just through the charities and churches or helping with cleanup as we know you will, but by spreading the word. Let folks know the Ozarks is still here. Email it. Tweet it. Put it on Facebook. Heck, write a letter. Then consider a visit. Let’s make a special effort to shop and dine in the lakes area and then see a show this season.

We’re not going to let any dad-burned tornadoes stop our fun.

Copyright Springfield News-Leader. Reprinted with permission.

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