4 out of 5 Downtown Branson Merchants Don't Trust Branson Chamber of Commerce

Talk about a twist of irony.

Quite frankly I find some of the marketing activities of the Branson Chamber of Commerce and Convention Center's Bureau unbecoming of a tax payer funded entity; but , as it turns out - I'm the biggest fan in Downtown Branson (apart from those receiving cash, high paying un-elected positions for twice the regional average pay)!

Selling the integrity of the Branson Chamber of Commerce Quarterly (Scroll Down to View 70 Page )report ended up being difficult to peddle.

And though - it would appear - to a more cynical person that you'd have to donate to a political candidate to receive the multi-million dollar jackpot - perhaps only the top 6 donors; I trust the numbers.

Historic Downtown Merchants and Downtown Branson Main Street Association

The Downtown Branson Main Street Association (DBMA) made enough headway to threaten the continuation of the Historic Downtown Branson Business Owners association (HDDBBOA)an effort supported by some of Branson's City Leaders.

Wife of Legislative Lobbyist Chip Mason, Dawn Erickson has proved to be a uniting force successfully moving downtown merchants agendas forward while keeping the purse strings within the DBMA.

The DBMA when led by Gayla Roten, focused primarily on State and Federal Grants and lobbying for Economic Development Funds. Roten has since moved to the state level after heavy criticism from Merchants operating in the Downtown Branson Area threatened the future of the DBMA.

PROBLEM: The Downtown Branson Historic District hasn't been monetarily benefiting from the Branson Landing and Convention Center admitted Branson's financial consultants in a report delivered last week to the Branson Board of Alderman.

Though Histroic Downtown Merchants have been crying foul play for three years since the Branson Landing opened; the development was supposed to increase not decrease total sales in Downtown Branson's oldest tourism district.

Branson Landing Not Economically Beneficial to Historic Downtown Branson Merchants

A complex matrix of special taxing boundaries puts the Branson Landing at an advantage; but much of the outdoor mall's success can be attributed to special events and interactive elements such as the fire and water show and paid live street musicians (much reduced this year).

Two years after the Branson Landing launched Downtown Branson's Historic District, Business owners are struggling to re-institute what was once the heart of the city.

Business owners took matters in their own hands marketing regionally without the help of the Tourism TAx District controlled by the Branson Chamber of Commerce. The merchants joined forces and purchased tens of thousands of dollars in advertising and marketing last year.

Branson Chamber of Commerce and the Press

Since Mayor Raeanne Presley and a new group of Alderman took office the Branson Chamber of Commerce and Convention Center and Visitors Bureau has become a much more closed organization evading Sunshine Law practices instituted by former Branson City Council. In fact, both districts no longer post notice at city hall when holding meetings.

Leaders meet privately, off the record weekly.

One of the primary objectives or the organization is to reduce the negative effects of bad press in a "Tourism Marketing 2.0" world. Travel journalists are often granted subsidized and/or free vacations courtesy of the Branson Chamber.

The Branson Chamber of Commerce and Convention Visitors Bureau is more than a "Business Owner's Association " they're one of the most powerful Quasi Government tax funded agencies in Southwest Missouri. In Branson, they own the Department of Revenue franchises.

The most noted effort to control media is a $400,000 Internet Campaign raising the cost of entry for journalists writing about Branson.
Due to the nature of an auction market - it could also raise the cost of entry for businesses trying to capitalize on the online tourism market.

Though such a massive campaign will help the publicly funded agency gain media power - how will it be dispersed?

Though I disagree with many of the Branson Chamber of Commerce / Convention Center and Visitors Bureau spending policies and lobbying efforts - I withhold the tax district number in the Branson Chamber of Commerce report are accurate. It's just funny that I have to convince so many people - the majority of Downtown Branson Merchats