For an area that depends on second homeowners and tourism as the economic engine, COVID-19 is taking its toll on Lake of the Ozarks.

The outlook is bleak as the start of the season at Lake of the Ozarks should be getting underway.  The COVID-19 pandemic has forced cancellations, left rooms vacant and sent many employees from the hotel/motel industry, food service and attractions home for the time being. Events, including the Dogwood Festival and Spring Harbor Hop have been canceled. 

For an area that depends on second homeowners and tourism as the economic engine, COVID-19 is taking its toll on Lake of the Ozarks. 

Statewide, Lake of the Ozarks, along with St. Louis, Kansas City, Branson, Columbia and Springfield are all weathering not only the loss of jobs, but lodging and sales taxes that they depend on generating from tourism. The American Hotel and Lodging Association estimates that COVID-19 has cost 17,221 direct hotel-related jobs and another 50,447 total jobs lost supporting the hotel industry. 

Tourism leaders across the state are describing the impact of COVID-19 as disastrous. 

Hoping to turn the tide and come out on the other end of the COVID-19 pandemic ready to get the belated season started, the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau has rolled out a marketing campaign aimed at giving potential visitors a glimpse at what is waiting.

Called  the “Stay Safe. Stay Healthy. There is Nothing More Important Than You, Our Visitor” 

CVB Director Tim Jacobsen said the objective was to create an ad campaign to send a message to visitors that they are important to the lake and when the time is right, Lake of the Ozarks will be waiting and ready. The ad campaign includes multiple platforms for getting the message out, including email blasts, and videos. Videos entitled “Nothing More Important Than You” show beautiful expanses of the lake, boating and activities, to highlight what Lake of the Ozarks is all about, he said.  

“At Lake of the Ozarks there is nothing more important than our visitor. During this time, we ask that everyone keep yourself and your family healthy and safe. The Lake is not going anywhere, and we will be prepared when people are ready to visit.  Our tourism partners have all been faced with economic uncertainty and we wish them a quick recovery and hope for their safety and health as well,” Jacobsen said.