Montana saw a small decline in out-of-state visitors in 2018, but an increase in overall tourism spending.
Jeremy Sage is the assistant director of the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana, which released the report.
“Having a few less people but them spend more money - I think that’s a good outcome.”
The estimates in the report show around 12.2 million nonresidents visited Montana last year. That’s down 2 percent from 2017.
But visitors spent almost $3.7 billion - a 10 percent increase in total spending compared to the year before. Sage says a low unemployment rate and consumers feeling financially secure could have contributed to the increase.
He says he doesn’t know what could have caused the decline in visitor numbers, but doesn’t think it will continue.
“The overall trend is certainly up, and we expect it to continue to be up moving forward.”
The report estimated 4th quarter data based on information from 2017. A report with finalized numbers will be released in spring.