Tourism | KCUR

Tourism

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

If you can imagine Las Vegas, a county fair and the TV show Hee Haw mashed up and spread out along an old Ozark highway, then you’ll have an idea of what the main strip of Branson in southern Missouri looks like.

Miles and miles of all the miniature golf, bumper cars, fudge shops, custard stands and music theaters that a vacationing family could hope for. 

Shannon works as a waitress in one of those places – a Branson restaurant – and says she loves being part of the action. 

Cooper Carry

Kansas City's long quest to build a downtown convention hotel entered its final stretch on Thursday at a groundbreaking event next to the construction site at 17th and Baltimore.

Work actually began a month ago at the 3-acre site, which is across Wyandotte Street from the Bartle Hall Grand Ballroom. A tower crane loomed above a white tent where more than 200 people celebrated what will be the Loews Kansas City Convention Center Hotel, a $322.7 million project expected to be completed by late April 2020.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

You could be forgiven for not realizing there's an organization based in Kansas City that's helping people around the world gain access to sanitation and clean water. Today, we meet the CEO and co-founder of Water.org. Then, astrophysicist Angela Speck returns to discuss what the scientific community learned from the eclipse on August 21. We also find out what it was like for folks living in St. Joseph, Missouri, to play host to more than 80,000 total eclipse tourists.

KC Hotel Developers, LLC

The long-planned Kansas City downtown convention hotel has a new flag and welcome infusion of cash from Loews Hotels, a New York-based luxury hotel operator.

Developer and attorney Mike Burke, who has pushed for the convention hotel project for more than six years, says Loews has agreed to invest a “substantial” amount of equity in the 800-room project and operate the hotel.

Iknowthegoods / Wikimedia Commons

After months of debate, Thursday's Kansas City Council vote was unanimous, but the $7 million commitment had reverted to a level similar to the first proposal made seven months ago.

In the meantime, estimates for improving the historic Jazz District had ballooned to as much as $12 million to start. The remainder of the $27.6 million total cost is expected to be divided into two more phases over a three-year period.

Supporters called it a most-expensive-case scenario, predicting that private investment would end up paying a large portion of the expense.

Ronnie Burt's job, as president and CEO of Visit KC, is to make Kansas City appealing to people who don't live here. What are the selling points, and what holds us back?

Guest:

  • Ronnie Burt, president and CEO, Visit KC

Neighborhood Radio

Apr 12, 2016

Two local organizations are gearing up to start low-power FM stations to broadcast to specific communities within a 3-5 mile radius of the broadcast location. One of them, broadcasting from the Mutual Musicians Foundation, will focus on local jazz, gospel and soul at 18th and Vine. The other has an educational and community service mission. What's the story?

Guests:

  • Lewis George Walker, co-founder, KUAW 98.5 FM
  • James McGee, general manager, KOJH 104.7

Elle Moxley / KCUR

The American Nurses Association, the National Society of Black Engineers, SkillsUSA – all groups Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James says would have held conventions in the metro if not for a lack of hotel space.

"They love Kansas City," James says. "They were going to look out at the hotels, and when they came back, they said, 'We can't come.'"

James and other civic leaders hope to remedy the problem with a new, $300 million hotel across the street from the Kansas City Convention Center. 

History & Tourism Around The State Line

Apr 23, 2013
Beth Lipoff/KCUR

Go to enough Kansas and Missouri historical spots, and you'll find many of them are steeped in the history of the Civil War.

How is Kansas City doing when it comes to attracting conventions and tourists to town?