Montana Public Radio

tourism

Snowmobilers in Yellowstone National Park
PD

It’s the last chance for oversnow travel for skiers and snowmobilers in Yellowstone National Park this season.

Roads in the park began closing Thursday to make way for the plows that need to clear feet of packed snow in preparation for summer tourism.

Sign saying "Welcome to Blackfeet Indian Country."
Will Marlow (CC-BY-NC-2)

The Montana Department of Commerce is creating a new position to promote tourism in Indian Country.

Casey Lozar with the Department of Commerce says the new Tribal Tourism Officer will develop culturally appropriate visitor orientation and tourism services in cooperation with the eight Native American nations in Montana.

Drivers of economic activity in Flathead County.
UM Bureau of Business and Economic Research

Health care has emerged as a major driver of the Flathead Valley economy, researchers from the University of Montana and local experts said Tuesday. MTPR's Nicky Ouellet reports from the 2018 Economic Outlook Seminar in Kalispell.

Glacier National Park's Logan Pass Visitor Center on a busy summer day.
Tom Westbrook (CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0)

Despite a smoke-filled summer, researchers from the University of Montana say that 2017 was actually a good year for the travel industry.

While almost 80 percent of businesses in northwestern Montana say they were affected by wildfires and smoke last summer, those same businesses raked in more than a billion dollars from out-of-state visitors.

Widlfire smoke fills the sky in Seeley Lake August  7, 2017.
Eric Whitney

A new study says Montana lost close to a quarter of a billion dollars in tourist revenue this year due to a tough fire season. That’s based on a survey of tourists by the University of Montana's Institute for Tourism and Recreational Research.

"For every hundred visitors that came to Montana this summer, about eight to nine other visitors cancelled their trips because of the smoke," Associate Director Jeremy Sage says.

Smoke from the Lolo Peak Fire fills the town of Lolo, August 17, 2017.
Eric Whitney

Governor Steve Bullock announced two new grants today that will help businesses and communities that suffered losses during fire season. One grant will help tourist destinations create a marketing campaign to lure visitors back, and another will help businesses that lost inventory or customers because of fire. 

Mandy Mohler started Field Guide Designs after spending a week in the Bob Marshall photographing items she found in the Spruce Park Cabin. She says her business wouldn't be possible if it weren't for Montana's public lands.
Nicky Ouellet

For the past two decades, Montanans have been making more money, creating more jobs and  increasing investment and retirement income in the state. What’s the cause for all this growth? Ray Rasker of Headwaters Economics Research says it has to do with the best asset in the last best state: public lands.

"Rural counties around the West that have a lot of federal land have faster growth in population, faster growth in employment, and faster growth in personal income," Rasker says.

Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.
Bureau of Land Management

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke will decide whether to shrink or eliminate 22 national monuments later this month. As Yellowstone Public Radio’s Brie Ripley reports, these monuments are significant money-makers for business owners across the West, who met in Helena and Great Falls Wednesday to discuss their concerns.

In Montana outdoor recreation generates nearly $6 billion in consumer spending annually, and supports over 60,000 jobs.

Overview of tourist spending in Montana.
University of Montana Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research

Montana’s budget to entice tourists to the state is about to take a multimillion dollar hit. Next week, budget reductions triggered by lower than expected state revenue will make Montana less competitive, officials say.

Last year, tourists spent about $3.5 billion in Montana, according to the University of Montana’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation.

2016 non-resident expenditure allocation by category.
UM Institute of Tourism and Recreation Research

Montana’s tourism industry saw more people last year, but fewer dollars.

That’s according to the latest update released today by the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana.

In 2016 about 12.5 million out of state visitors came to Montana, that’s up 3 percent over 2015.

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