Branson, MO — After a deadly string of tornados ripped through the Midwest last week, the Branson Convention Center and the Hilton Branson Convention Hotel remain closed. “The Branson Convention Center is scheduled to re-open on mid-April,” Bill Tirone, assistant general manager of the Branson Convention Center, told Trade Show Executive. “But the Hilton Branson Convention Hotel will be closed for 120 days or longer.”
The EF-2 tornado that hit Branson last week caused significant property damage and 33 people were injured, but there were no fatalities in the area. Nine people were killed throughout the region.
Managed by Hilton Worldwide, the Branson Convention Center offers 50,000 square feet of exhibit space, 38,000 square feet of meeting space, and 23,000 square feet of flex space, according to Trade Show Executive’s 2011 World’s Top Convention Centers directory. The convention center connects directly to the Hilton Branson Convention Hotel, a hotel with 294 rooms and suites.
“The convention center received damage to a loading dock door, garage door, air walls, ceilings and the roof,” said Tirone. But the worst damage was sustained at the Hilton Branson Convention Hotel, a 12-story building with 3,800 glass panels that line the outside.
“Hotel windows were shattered, and some rooms had furniture sucked away by high winds,” said Tirone. “All of the panels will have to be replaced.” Approximately 50 guests were staying at the hotel when the storm hit around 1:20 a.m. on Feb. 29, but hotel workers were able to get all guests to safety.
Across the street, the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing also received tornado damage. “The north tower, with 130 guest rooms, never closed,” said Tirone. “But 80 rooms in the south tower remain closed and will probably not re-open for 60 to 90 days, 30 rooms in the south tower have re-opened.”
Reach Bill at (417) 243-3410 or William.Tirone@hilton.com