Friday Flash 1/17/2020

Friday Flash Banner

Reminders/Updates for Our Tourism Partners

Save the Dates...

  • Monthly Tourism Partner Call—For assistance or information regarding this bi-monthly call, please email Kev Campbell or call her at 406.841.2887.
    • January 22, 2020
    • March 25, 2020
    • May 27, 2020
  • January 20, 2020—Region/CVB 2nd Quarter FY20 financial reports due.
  • February 10, 2020—TAC Meeting (Delta Hotel-Helena)
  • February 11, 2020—Research Summit (Delta Hotel-Helena)
  • March 13-14, 2020—Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts (Helena). For more information, click here
  • April 20, 2020—Region/CVB 3rd Quarter FY20 financial reports due.
  • April 26-28, 2020—Governor's Conference on Tourism & Recreation (Billings)
  • May 1, 2020—Region/CVB FY21 Marketing Plans due to MOTBD in WebGrants.
  • June 8-9, 2020—TAC Meeting (Helena)
  • July 20, 2020—Region/CVB 4th Quarter FY20 financial reports due.


Governor's Conference

Tourism Awards Open for Nominations 

We are now accepting nominations for the 2020 Tourism Awards. These awards recognize outstanding accomplishments of the people, businesses, organizations and communities that strengthen Montana's tourism and recreation industries. Nominations are open from January 16, 2020 - February 16, 2020. Submit your nomination here

Visit MTGOVERNORSCONFERENCE.COM for registration, lodging and other information. Subscribe for email updates here.

Tourism Grants

Montana Department of Commerce Awards Tourism Grants to Communities Across the State

Funds totaling $750,000 will be awarded through the Tourism Grant Program at the Montana Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism and Business Development.

“Experiencing Montana is all about visiting charming, vibrant communities and taking in the breathtaking landscapes and unspoiled nature found across our state,” Rice said. “This funding invests in communities all over Montana to help them enhance or create tourism and recreation assets that will strengthen local economies.” See more here.

Destination Development Webinars

The Destination Development Association has a plethora of resources to inspire and empower local stakeholders and local organizations with their efforts to becoming vibrant, sustainable, and thriving destinations that will attract new investment, are fantastic places to live, and that visitors will gravitate to every chance they get. One of the resources is easy to watch and digest how-to videos and accompanying guides on every place-making, tourism, downtown, and economic development topic you can imagine. As a courtesy to our tourism partners, the Tourism Grant Program is happy to host a Wednesday Webinar Series on the 2nd Wednesday of each month.

Here is the upcoming schedule:

  • February 12—Business & Community Signage
  • March 11—The Art of Wayfinding
  • April 8—Economic Impact: Downtown & Tourism
  • May 13—Visitor Information Centers in the Digital Age
  • June 10—Getting Everyone on the Same Page, Pulling in the Same Direction
  • July 8—Breaking Down the Silos: Creating Winning Partnerships
  • August 12—Community Marketing on a Minuscule Budget
  • September 9—Turning Your Shoulder Seasons into Peak Seasons
  • October 14—Making the Most of Social Media
  • November 11—Great Ideas that Will Make You a Fantastic Holiday Destination
  • December 9—Seven Deadly Sins of Destination Marketing

Please register here if your entity or organization is interested in community efforts to become a vibrant, sustainable, and thriving destination.

Made in Montana


Made in Montana Tradeshow

Join us for the 2020 Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts on March 13-14, 2020 at the Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds in Helena. The 2020 show will feature 150 Made in Montana producers including more than 40 new exhibitors and our Native American Made in Montana Pavilion. 

Wholesale Buyers are welcome to register for our special buyer's only day here


Heaven on Earth Ranch and Deep Creek Outfitters are part of a family-owned working cattle ranch.  Located in the Smith River Canyon, south of Great Falls MT, the Heaven on Earth Ranch offers guided hunts, day trips, lodging, golf, and an opportunity for guests to learn about ranch life. Rancher Vic Anderson and his family chose to add revenue from visitors to keep the ranch running during times of economic uncertainty. More here.


MOTBD Hosted Amber Gibson in Partnership with lone Mountain Ranch

Her first piece, "Five Reasons to Visit Big Sky Montana if You Don't Ski," has been published on Forbes.

Tribal News

Commerce Department Announces Funding for Revitalization of Tribal Languages

The Montana Department of Commerce today awarded a total of $712,500 through the Montana Indian Language Program to the eight tribal governments in Montana to support language revitalization efforts.

The Montana Indian Language Program works to protect American Indian cultural integrity by recognizing that languages spoken, written, or in the form of sign language are vital to the identities of tribal nations and the state. Funding for the program comes from the state’s main budget bill, HB 2, which the 2019 Montana Legislature passed last year. More here.

Heritage/Cultural News

New Montana Historic Preservation Grant Program Now Open

The Montana Department of Commerce is now accepting applications for the Montana Historic Preservation Grant Program. The new grant program is designed to support the preservation of historical sites, societies and museums in Montana. With awards of up to $500,000 for each eligible grant recipient, the funding will be used to improve historical sites, historical societies or history museums in Montana. Applications are due by Feb. 28, 2020. Grant recipients will be determined by the Montana Legislature during the 2021 legislative session. Apply here.


Re-launched Census 2020 Website!

Visit the re-launched Montana Census 2020 website at CENSUS.MT.GOV featuring easy-to-find resources, social media graphics, talking points, and an interactive map of "Be Counted" locations.

Recently, 11 new fact sheets and flyers were added in the “Resources” section. They include flyers geared toward complete count committees, group housing, military, college students, rural healthcare, children, and security. Additional flyers will continue to be added on a regular basis in the following weeks. Coming soon: Video and radio public service announcements!

Montana Nonprofit Association Announces Census 2020 Mini-Grants

Thanks to the generosity of several foundations in the state, Montana Nonprofit Association is launching a competitive, statewide program to award micro-grants to eligible nonprofit organizations to support get-out-the-count activities and events. Learn more during their kick off webinar Friday, January 17 at 1:00 p.m. MST. 

Bozeman Yellowstone International sets 10th consecutive passenger record in 2019

Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) handled 1,573,860 passengers during 2019.  This is an increase of 231,570 passengers (17.3%) compared to 2018 and is the tenth consecutive year of record-breaking passenger traffic.  Annual passenger traffic has more than doubled over the past 10 years and accounts for a third of all airline passengers traveling to and from Montana. More here.

Best Marketing Practices

Marketing Trends for 2020

Increase the impact of your DMO. Destination Think! offers three trends to help you enter the new decade with confidence and clarity. More here.

Montana in the News
Tourism Partner Shout-Outs, Recognition and News


LivingstonLivingston Rallies all of Montana to Win Half a Million Dollars for Small Business
Livingston, Montana made it to Top 5 Small Business Revolution Towns out of thousands of larger towns around the nation. Now the entire state of Montana, and everyone we know around the globe, needs to vote daily from January 14 until January 21 at to win half a million dollars to revolutionize small businesses in Livingston. The town among Top 5 towns, with the most votes, wins. Vote with #mylivingston. 

Casper, WY"The One & Only" Campaign Touts City as Place Like No Other
An interesting destination marketing campaign: "Kaufman said leaning into what makes Casper special while avoiding promoting the same things as competing destinations like Billings, Montana or Rapid City, South Dakota is the trick." More here.

U.S. Travel Association#PlanForVacation
Guilty of not using all your vacation time? Make 2020 the year you #PlanForVacation and use all your time off. National Plan for Vacation day is on January 28. More here.

Northwest Travel Magazine2020 Editor's Picks 52 Getaways
This special edition featured a number of Montana activities and businesses including #2Going to the Sun By Bike in Glacier National Park,#10 Terry Badlands, #12 Chico Hot Springs Paradise Valley, #15 Southeastern MT Powwow at Crow Fair,#19 North Fork Cabins at Pole Bridge, #32 Thompson Peak Fire Lookout at Superior, and #44 Double Arrow Lodge Seeley Lake.

Other News

Department of Commerce Awards $1.3 Million in Grant Funds to Help Businesses Create and Retain Jobs

An historic hotel and rural community hospital will share $1.3 million in Community Development Block Grant-Economic Development grants to create and retain jobs, the Montana Department of Commerce announced Wednesday.

Ekalaka and Carter County will receive $600,000 for Dahl Memorial Hospital to expand and purchase new medical equipment. This award will also create four jobs and retain 36. The healthcare industry is Montana’s largest sector of employment, and rural community hospitals are critical for the future of our rural economies.  More here.

Free Entrance Days in the National Parks

Come experience the national parks! On five days in 2020, all National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee will offer free admission to everyone. For more information, click here

Mark your calendar for these entrance fee–free dates in 2020:

  • January 20: Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • April 18: First day of National Park Week
  • August 25: National Park Service Birthday
  • September 26: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11: Veterans Day

Sperry Chalet Reservations Open This Week

Monday will be a "red letter" day for fans of the Sperry Chalet, as reservations open for the first season since the Glacier National Park Landmark was destroyed by fire. More here.

Funding Resources

Agriculture Innovation Center (AIC) Program

The AIC Program awards grants to Agriculture Innovation Centers that provide technical and business development assistance to agricultural producers seeking to engage in making or producing value-added agricultural products. The maximum award amount is $1 million. Matching funds are required for a minimum of one-third of the project’s total budget. For more information, click here

Other Dates/Events to Note

SBDC Training Workshops—The Montana SBDC Network offers a wide variety of training and workshops for small businesses in all phases of business development, from start-ups to those looking at growth and expansion. Click here for a list of popular training offered in the SBDC Network.

January 28-March 19, 2020Economic Outlook Seminars—The University of Montana's Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) will be host ten seminars and one live webcast to highlight the latest economic trends for local economies and the state of Montana. Seminars will run from 8:00 AM-1:00 PM in each location. To register or learn more, click here.

  • January 28—Helena (Great Northern Hotel)
  • January 29—Great Falls (Hilton Garden Inn)
  • January 31—Missoula (Hilton Garden Inn)
  • February 4—Billings (Northern Hotel)
  • February 5—Bozeman (The Commons or Live webcast available)
  • February 6—Butte (NorthWestern Energy General Office)
  • February 11—Kalispell (Hilton Garden Inn)
  • March 17—Havre (MSU Northern)
  • March 18—Lewistown (Central Montana Education Center)
  • March 19—Big Sky (Lone Peak Cinema)

The Role of the Board Chair Webinar Series

Board Members, incoming Board Chairs, other committee chairs, and Executive Directors are encouraged to attend. You will leave with:

  • A better understanding of the board chair's responsibility in strengthening the work of the board as a whole.
  • Strategies that can help you lead more effectively as a board chair.
  • Ways to more effectively structure board meetings and engage individual board members at meetings.

Webinars will take place from 1:00—2:00 PM MTN on the following days:

  • January 30—What Kind of Leader are You?
  • February 6—What's Your Job as Board Chair?
  • February 13—Meetings that Matter
  • February 20—Presiding vs Facilitating

Montana Nonprofit Association Members with Discount Code: $80 | Series
Non-Montana Nonprofit Association Members: $160 | Series

To learn more or register, click here

April 28-30, 2020Montana's Healthy Communities Conference (Helena)—Montana Healthy Communities is a collaboration of various organizations committed to raising awareness in Montana about the relationship between the physical and mental health of its citizens and the economic vitality of the community. This includes the coordinated discussion, planning and funding for quality jobs, transportation, research, broadband, schools, safe walking, biking and recreational options, early child care, housing, infrastructure, revitalization and historic preservation. Click here for more information. 

May 3-5, 2020Northwest USA Spotlight Tourism Conference (Helena)—This is a casual and intimate tourism conference that combines educational seminars, networking functions, site-seeing tours and a supplier trade show. If your Region or CVB is looking to get face time with qualified tour operators from all over the US and Canada, there are sponsorship and exhibit opportunities for you at Spotlight. For more information, please contact Erinn Donnell with Visit Helena at 406.443.2117 or