Travel clubs have been a boon to Branson, but not all travel clubs are legitimate.
A new law, HB 83 , seeks to crack down on those unscrupulous travel clubs. Gov. Nixon has signed the bill into law. Nixon says travel clubs deserve more praise than criticism, but some have blemished the industry.
"For too long a few unscrupulous travel clubs have tarnished the reputation of reputable clubs that play by the rules," Nixon says. "This bill will help sort out the bad apples and protect the rights of Missouri consumers. HB 83 will also give consumers from Missouri and across the country greater confidence in our tourism industry and help bring more visitors to the Show Me State."
Consumers have three days after joining a travel club to change their minds. Some clubs give away tickets or other token gifts and claim that by accepting, consumers give away that right. The new law doesn’t allow clubs to do that.
It also requires travel clubs to keep $250,000 on hand, so consumers can be refunded if they go belly up.
Rep. Dennis Wood (R-Kimberling City) sponsored the bill.
"I want to state clearly today there are many travel clubs that are honest and fair and do a great job, but this bill just protest us," Wood says. "If people coming to Missouri can’t trust us they won’t come."
Some Branson businesses have been burned by the unscrupulous clubs, honoring tickets the clubs never purchased so tourists don’t leave Missouri with a bad experience.