Montana Public Radio

tourism

While survey results released on May 29 show people are feeling safer to travel, over 90 percent of Montana’s tourism businesses say they expect a long, slow recovery from COVID-19.

COVID-19 guidelines for tourists during phase 2 of Montana's reopening.
Montana Disaster and Emergency Services

On June 1, Montana will enter into Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan. MTPR's Corin Cates-Carney and YPR's Nicky Ouellet explain what that means for individuals, businesses and tourists.

Find more information about what COVID-19 restrictions are in place in Montana.

 

June typically kicks off Montana’s busiest wedding season. But this year, couples and small businesses are navigating the ripple effects of COVID-19. 

A social-distancing sign at a grocery story.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

Montana is starting two new programs for tourism education and business safety as the state enters the second phase of its economic reopening plan on June 1.

Starting June 1, out-of-state travelers will no longer have a two-week quarantine requirement when coming into Montana.

Big sky country and big adventures drew in over 12 million tourists to Montana last year. As the state moves to reopen amid low COVID-19 case numbers, some Montana communities have to weigh the economic importance of tourism with local safety.

Area Closed sign and barricade in front of a national park sign.
Breanna McCabe / MontanaPBS

The National Park Service is beginning to test public access in some of its parks across the country, and Yellowstone National Park will allow visitors to enter the park through its Wyoming gates beginning Monday, May 18. Glacier National Park remains closed, but both parks prepare to open access in Montana in the coming weeks.

Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks announced plans to partially reopen in phases starting on May 18, after a seven week closure due to COVID-19. 

Starting Monday at noon, visitors will be allowed to enter Yellowstone National Park through its southern and eastern Wyoming gates. They’ll be limited to the lower loop of the park, which includes Old Faithful, Yellowstone Lake and Hayden Valley.

 

Montana’s travel industry is already feeling the impact of the novel coronavirus. Many businesses are worried about the long-term impacts of current cancellations, slow bookings and labor shortages.

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.

A file photo of a tour bus entering Yellowstone Park from the West Yellowstone entrance.
Yellowstone National Park (PD)

Restrictions on air travel out of China due to the coronavirus are already having an impact on Montana’s tourism season. Businesses in West Yellowstone say bookings by Chinese tourists are down.

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