Lake Businesses Gear Up for Summer Tourism

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LAKE OF THE OZARKS - Warm weather brings more tourists to the Lake of the Ozarks, and the lake's convention and visitors bureau said businesses should expect younger customers this season. "We've seen an increase in couples traveling and women traveling for women's getaways," Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau Director Tim Jacobson said Wednesday.

Lake visitor totals for fiscal year 2011 support this projection. In fiscal year 2010, 28 percent of lake visitors were made up of families with kids. Only 22 percent of visitors were families in fiscal year 2011. The number of first time visitors also increased from 27 percent to 35 percent in fiscal year 2011, leading the convention and visitor bureau to expect more visitors this year.

"Many people end up coming to the lake and end up buying a home here eventually," Jacobson said.

"We've had several honeymooners last fall and this spring," Bridgeport Boat Rentals owner Darrell Law said. Law said Bridgeport has also seen an increase in visitors making reservations in advance this season.

According to the Lake CVB, 73 percent of visitors shop at the lake and 40 percent boat. The Osage Beach Premium Outlets also expect to attract young women this season. "What better place for women to do a get-away," general manager Candy Wilson said. "We have many women's groups that just love to shop and spend entire days and weekends at the outlets," Wilson said.

Wilson also said the outlets offer incentives to attract more women's groups to shop in the lake area, such as sales and a VIP shopper program.