Friday Flash 1/31/2020

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Glacier Country

Reminders/Updates for Our Tourism Partners

Save the Dates...

  • Bi-Monthly Tourism Partner Call—For assistance or information regarding this bi-monthly call, please email Kev Campbell or call her at 406.841.2887.
    • March 25, 2020
    • May 27, 2020
  • February 10-11, 2020—TAC Meeting & Research Summit (Delta Hotel-Helena). For meeting agenda and other information, please click here
  • March 13-14, 2020—Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts (Helena). For more information, click here
  • April 1, 2020—Census Day
  • 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

2020 Montana Tourism Awards 

Each year, we specially recognize a Tourism Ambassador of the Year, a lifetime achievement award for a Montana tourism professional. This award goes to someone who has dedicated their life to tourism and recreation, and had a significant positive contribution in the community, region, or across the state. Betty Stone of Glasgow received this award in 2019 for her work as a volunteer with the Board of Directors of the Missouri River Country Tourism Region, Two Rivers Economic Growth, Glasgow Downtown Association, Glasgow TBID, Montana State Parks and MLHA. 

The Montana Tourism Awards recognize outstanding accomplishments of the people, businesses, organizations and communities that strengthen Montana's tourism and recreation industries, and include the Heritage and Cultural Tourism Award, Marketing Campaign of the Year, Outstanding Tourism Volunteer, Public and Private Collaboration Award and Tourism Ambassador of the year. Submit your nominations by Sunday, February 16 by clicking here

Visit MTGOVERNORSCONFERENCE.COM for registration, lodging and other information. Subscribe for email updates here. You can also follow our Facebook Page for updates. 

Tourism Grants

2020 Event Grant Application Cycle Opens Tomorrow!

A special application cycle of tourism event grants will open on February 1. The grant awards of $5,000-$25,000 are to support an event being held in Montana before June 30, 2021. The purpose of this grant is to attract non-resident or out-of-area resident visitors to the event, enhancing attendance and increasing visitor-generated revenues.

To prepare for this special application cycle for events only, attend our event application workshop on Wednesday, February 5 at 10:00 a.m. The workshop will include an overview of the program, who is eligible, what types of events qualify, and a timeline of the application cycle. To register for the workshop, click here

Awards will be based on the number of total applications received, in addition to a review and evaluation process led by Montana Department of Commerce staff and a member of the Tourism Advisory Council. 

See below for a timeline of the 2020 event grant cycle.

Event Grant Cycle

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. 

GET LOST (in Montana)

Get Lost

GET LOST in Montana® License Agreements Available

Don’t lose your ability to GET LOST in Montana® in 2020; renew the license use agreement. Current license agreements expired as of 12/31/19. The GET LOST in Montana® mark is available to tourism partners to use in a manner that reflects positively upon Montana. The downloadable graphics have been used on glassware, garments and all sorts of gear. There is no charge to use the mark, but a license agreement must be signed and on file for use going forward. For more information, contact Kev Campbell at 406.841.2887 or

Montana Film Office

Montana Cattle Ranch Documentary Earns National Award

Well, if you want to take a journey through winter calving, a cool new documentary will soon be unveiled at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival on February 23 at The Wilma in Missoula. According to The University of Montana, this documentary by Jiakai Lou took first place in the Hearst Journalism Awards – one of the most prestigious honors for college-level journalism – for his look into Montana ranching. Read more and watch a trailer of the documentary here

Tribal/Cultural News

Governor Bullock Announces $320,000 in Grants to Native American Businesses

Earlier this month, Governor Steve Bullock awarded $320,000 in funding to support the growth of 25 Native American-owned businesses across Montana through the Indian Equity Fund Small Business Grant program.

Encouraging the growth of Native American-owned and operated businesses boosts not only the businesses themselves, but also helps strengthen local economies in the communities they operate in,” Governor Bullock said. “Indian Equity Fund dollars are an important investment in the future of businesses and tribal communities across Montana.”

Each business will receive between $7,000 and $14,000 to help with costs related to land purchases, building, equipment, assets, technology, operational costs, and working capital.

The Indian Equity Fund builds partnerships with tribal governments by investing in Native American entrepreneurships and small businesses and encouraging economic development in tribal nations for the benefit of tribal communities and members. To read the full press release and see a list of the businesses that received the grants, click here

Outdoor Recreation

National Leaders Align to Prevent Spread of Invasive Species

Wildlife Forever, the North American Invasive Species Management Association (NAISMA), National Park Service, and US Fish and Wildlife Service have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enhance coordination of invasive species prevention messaging across public lands and waters.

The new agreement aims to increase the reach of national prevention campaigns such as PlayCleanGo® Stop Invasive Species In Your Tracks®, Clean Drain Dry Initiative™, and Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers on federal lands and waters. Read more here


Montana Census 2020 Goal: Complete Count of Older Adults

By 2030, all "baby boomers" will be age 65 or older. The 2020 census will help policy makers prepare for the incoming wave of the aging baby boomer generation. 

Data from the Census is used to determine the number of seniors who live in a community and the services they need to live independently, as required by the Older Americans Act. If the Census is inaccurate, communities will not get their fair share of funding. Programs seniors rely on will be underfunded and not provide the needed services.  

Census data affects programs critical to seniors including Medicare Part B, Health Care Centers, Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program, first responders,Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) and more. 



Did you know that older adults are considered a hard-to-count population for the 2020 census?

You can partner with the U.S. Census Bureau and a Complete Count Committee in your area to convey the importance and ensure no one is left uncounted, especially Montana's seniors. Achieving a complete and accurate 2020 Census is in our hands! 

Best Marketing Practices

best practices

Partnering with Montana State Parks Foundation

Destination Missoula, as well as other Regions and CVBs across the state, provided support for the Montana State Parks Foundation by sponsoring online features that appeared on the Foundation’s website weekly news page. According to Destination Missoula, this is a way to support the Foundation while educating visitors about the state parks and Montana’s outdoor recreation opportunities in their area. The weekly parks showcase includes suggestions, recommendations, quick facts, photos and sponsor recognition. Destination Missoula’s sponsored four parks in 2018-2019 year: Beavertail Hill State Park, Milltown State Park, Placid Lake State Park and Travelers’ Rest State Park. Success from the small investment was measured by traditional means (click-through rates, inquiries and visits to the Destination Missoula website); however, value was also placed on the strengthening of the relationship with Montana State Parks.

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


Bozeman—Bozeman Airport Adds Direct Flights to Boston, New York JFK
The Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport has added two East Coast nonstop flights to its ever-expanding offerings. In June, JetBlue will begin offering direct flights to New York’s JFK International Airport and Boston Logan International Airport.

Boston is our number one market currently without nonstop service,” said airport director Brian Sprenger at a Thursday press conference. “We’re very excited.” Read more here

Glacier Country TourismGlacier Country Pushes Vacation Planning as U.S. Workers Leave Time on the Table
Type “Glacier Country” into Google and chances are good you’ll get a long list of vacation rentals, hotel rates, deals on airfare and inspiring photographs. What you won’t get is a gentle push to actually book that vacation and take the time off.

Glacier Country Tourism is working to change that American bad habit by participating in a national initiative launched by the U.S. Travel Association to encourage employees to take full advantage of their paid vacation days. Read more here


ITRR Releases Preliminary 2019 Montana Nonresident Traveler Expenditures & Economic Contribution Report

The preliminary 2019 nonresident travel data is now available. ITRR collects data from travelers around the state throughout the year, and makes this data available for the public to view and work with.

The preliminary report shows that 12.6 million nonresidents visited Montana in 2019 and spent around $3.6 billion. Visitor spending during 2019 supported and estimated 40,700 jobs directly and more that 56,000 jobs in total. To see the preliminary report, click here.

Other News

Emergency Preparedness and Response: Coronavirus

Chinese authorities have confirmed an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in early December 2019. Currently there are hundreds of confirmed cases in China, including cases outside Wuhan City, with additional cases being identified in a growing number of countries internationally. The first case in the United States was announced on January 21, 2020.

U.S. Travel is in close contact with authorities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Homeland Security and officials at several U.S. airports about ongoing developments.

Industry Resources:
On January 27, the CDC, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Foundation, held a webinar on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and how the private sector should consider responding; a recording of that webinar is available here. Resources for the travel industry to use to communicate with the media and traveling public are on this webpage.

Plan for Vacation

Did you know there are 768 million unused vacation days a year in the U.S.? Encourage your audience to plan out earned time off with an easy-to-use Vacation Planning Tool. It can be embedded to any website and customized to fit your brand. 

Funding Resources

Montana Historic Preservation Grant Program 

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.

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.

February 4-March 19, 2020Economic Outlook Seminars—The University of Montana's Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) will host seminars, including 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.

  • 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)

Nonprofit Board Leadership & Stewardship Workshop Series

Montana Nonprofit Association's (MNA) Nonprofit Board Leadership and Stewardship workshop provides content, resources, and insights for newly minted and long-time board members, as well as your leadership team. This workshop will cover topics crucial to board service including culture, committees, calendars, legal responsibilities, and recruitment. Invite your board or your leadership team and make 2020 the year you prioritize board development. 

Workshops will take place from 9:30 AM—3:30 PM in each location:

  • February 5—Helena
  • February 27—Dillon
  • March 17—Billings
  • April 8—Great Falls
  • April 9—Lewistown

MNA Members: $90 | Registration deadline one week before event.
Non-MNA Members: $180 | Registration deadline one week before event.

To learn more or register, click here

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:

  • 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

October 6-8, 2020North American Invasive Species Management Association (NAISMA) Annual Conference (Whitefish)—Co-Sponsored with the Montana Invasive Species Council, the conference will include field trips will visit Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, and surrounding natural areas. Concurrent sessions will present new techniques and technologies, standards, climate change impacts and adaptation strategies, biocontrol updates, forest pests, feral hogs, new invasive species on the horizon, aquatic invasive species management, education and awareness brands, Cooperative Weed Management Area successes, cross-jurisdictional strategies, and much more. To learn more, click here