Country Tours, a two-year-old tour operator based in Chantilly,
Va., plans to inaugurate air-inclusive tours and air-only service
from Dallas-Fort Worth to the M. Graham Clark airport at Point
Lookout, Mo., approximately 1.5 miles south of Branson.
Joel Grossman, vice president of marketing for the tour firm,
which operates the airport under a lease from the College of the
Ozarks, said that at press time a contract for the scheduled air
service was pending.
Three roundtrips per day are anticipated, he said, with service
expected to begin by April 15. By late February, Country Tours
plans to open a sales and reservations office in South Florida in
support of the Branson program, Grossman said.
Agents will be able to book overnight and longer packages with a
choice of hotels, either an Avis car rental or transfers and
theater seats, he said.
The airport has been expanded to handle 32- or 48-seat aircraft
such as the DeHavilland Dash 7, which can utilize the 3,500-foot
runway. A new passenger terminal, security services and baggage
claim system is in operation as are several gates, Grossman
In late spring, Country Tours expects to add flights from one or
more Midwest cities, such as St. Louis, Kansas City, Mo., and
Memphis and Nashville in Tennessee.
In two years, the M. Graham Clark runway will be extended to
6,000 feet, enabling it to handle all commuter and regional planes,
including 100-passenger jets. Boeing 737s and 727s will not be
among those accommodated, Grossman said. Larger aircraft, used by
TWA and United Express, serve the airport at Springfield, Mo.,
about 50 miles north of Branson.
Grossman said any agent or tour operator may book the new air
service. The new flights, he said, should help agents generate new
travelers for Branson: honeymooners, singles--people who do not
want to take a motorcoach.(Branson is heavily dependent on
motorcoach tours to bring in clients.)
Until the sales and reservations office opens, inquiries can be
directed to Grossman c/o Tourism Solutions, (954) 434-8214; fax