Montana Public Radio

Racene Friede

A ranger hands a visitor park information at one of Glacier National Park's entrances.
Glacier National Park (PD)

International travel to the U.S. is expected to decline due to flight restrictions and fears over the novel coronavirus. That downturn will take a big bite out of the U.S. travel and tourism economy. But, the virus could be boon to places like western Montana as Americans cancel their international trips in favor of something a little closer to home.

Montana's outdoor recreation activities.
Outdoor Recreation And Montana's Economy report, Headwaters Economics.

A growing set of business owners, non-profits and agencies in Montana are trying to expand what we think of when we talk about the economic value of the outdoors here.

Marne Hayes is the executive director for Business for Montana’s Outdoors, a group that advocates for preserving Montana’s outdoor heritage. She says Montana itself — its rivers, forests and wide open spaces — offers a competitive advantage for attracting new businesses and a talented workforce to Montana.