Friday Flash 2/28/2020

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Reminders/Updates for our Tourism Partners

Save the Dates...

  • March 13-14, 2020—Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts (Helena). 
  • March 18, 2020—Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Day
  • Bi-Monthly Tourism Partner Call—Calls will be held on the 4th Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on the following dates (unless otherwise noted). Please update your calendars. For assistance or information regarding this bi-monthly call, please contact Kev Campbell or call her at 406.841.2887. 
    • March 25, 2020
    • May 27, 2020
    • July 22
    • September 23
    • November 25
  • 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 
  • July 20, 2020—Region/CVB 4th Quarter FY20 Financial Reports Due
  • October 5-6, 2020—TAC Meeting 
  • February 8-9, 2021—TAC Meeting 
  • June 14-15, 2021—TAC Meeting 


Eastern Montana Tourism Partner Initiative

Montana Department of Commerce Announces Second Round of Funding to Promote Tourism Growth in Eastern Montana

The Montana Department of Commerce announced Wednesday a second round of grant awards to support efforts from nine communities to promote long-term tourism and economic development in eastern Montana.

A total of $297,829 will be awarded through the Eastern Montana Tourism Partner Initiative Grant Program. The Eastern Montana Tourism Partner Initiative is an ongoing collaboration among the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development at Commerce and communities across eastern Montana that was formed in response to community leaders seeking to strengthen local economies. Read the full press release here

Governor's Conference on Tourism & Recreation


Join us for the Governor's Conference on Tourism and Recreation in Billings, Montana on April 26-28, 2020. Bringing together tourism and recreation leaders from every corner of the state continues to elevate these industries by inspiring innovation, educating through on-the-ground insights, connecting partners across the state, and experiencing all that the host city has to offer. Register now at the special rate of $229 by clicking here. Prices will increase on April 1. 

Kick off your conference experience on Sunday, April 26 with a Fam Tour! These tours are included with registration and space is still available for the Old West History Loop, Downtown Billings Arts & Culture, and Indoor Recreation tours.

Tourism Awards Nomination Deadline is Sunday!

Nominations for the Montana Tourism Awards will be accepted until Sunday, March 1, 2020. These awards recognize outstanding accomplishments of the people, businesses, organizations and communities that strengthen Montana's tourism and recreation industries. You can submit your nomination here

Network Industry Breakout Sessions Announced

These popular breakout sessions bring together partners in various sectors of the tourism and recreation industries to connect and discuss timely topics, concerns, challenges and opportunities in an interactive and informal roundtable format. Beyond the traditional industry breakouts, this year two more have been added to discuss specific topics. If there are multiple attendees from the same business or organization, feel free to attend different sessions. Learn more about these sessions here.

This year’s sessions include:

  • Large DMOs
  • Retail, Restaurants, Breweries, Distilleries, and Culinary Tourism
  • Lodging
  • Tribal Tourism
  • Small – Medium DMOs
  • Outdoor Recreation & Tourism
  • Tourism Strategies for Attractions, Museums, Events and Trails
  • Tourism Transportation: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Tourism Grants

2020 Event Grant Application Cycle Closes Sunday!

The application cycle of tourism event grants closes Sunday, March 1, 2020. The grant awards will be used to support events 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. Learn more here

Made in Montana

Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts

Our annual Tradeshow is just around the corner! Join us at the Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds in Helena on Saturday, March 14 from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. for Public Showcase Day! Shop your favorite Made in Montana products, and discover something new. We hope to see you there! For more information, click here

Wholesale Buyer Registration

We are still accepting pre-registrations from wholesale buyers to shop on Wholesale Buyer Day, Friday, March 13 from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. We invite all registered wholesale buyers, exhibitors and VIPs to our Reception and Awards Ceremony on Friday, March 13 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Join us for local appetizers, and to celebrate the 2020 Award Winners: Retailer of the Year, Best in Show, Best New Exhibitor, and Best in Show Honorable Mention. Wholesale buyers can register here.


FY21 Joint Venture Program Plan Webinar

In this webinar, Hoffman York will walk through the FY21 JVP Plan and specific offerings and will also address any questions.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. (MST)

You can join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone, by clicking here.

You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (646) 749-3112

Access Code: 883-347-181

New to GoToMeeting? Get the app now and be ready when your first meeting starts.

Tribal Tourism

IC Digital Ads

Summer Marketing Campaign Features Out-of-Home, Print, and Digital Ads

This summer, the Indian Tourism Region is participating in several national marketing opportunities to inspire visitation to Indian Country.

A partnership with Smithsonian will produce custom videos, articles, and photos to share experiences and stories from across Montana. The media plan will generate an estimated 1.43 million impressions.

A digital campaign with Sojern will place six different sizes of banner ads on a network of websites, all pointing back to the Indian Country content at VISITMT.COM and generating an estimated 4 million impressions. See an example of last year's ads to the right.

Ten digital billboards in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area will rotate ads including Indian Country with a message about how easy it is to reach Montana with direct flights from DFW to four airports near Indian Country. The billboards will generate an estimated 390,000 impressions.

Finally, Indian Country will have dedicated sections of the upcoming Montana tourism guidebook produced in partnership with Parents magazine.

Tribal Tourism Strategic Plan

FY20-21 Tribal Tourism Montana Strategic Plan Available to Download

MOTBD is pleased to share the Tribal Tourism Montana Strategic Plan, FY20-21. It outlines the strategic priorities for the Indian Tourism Region this biennium under the four pillars of Influence, Relationships, Capacity, and Promotion.

Going forward, you'll see how the tribal tourism program at MOTBD supports each of the pillars with the goal of strengthening tribal economies through tourism promotion and development.

Outdoor Recreation

Protecting Against Invasive Species in Montana

Invasive specieis are organisms that are non-native to an ecosystem which is likely to cause damage to that ecosystem. Being such tiny creatures, you may wonder how invasive species like invasive zebra and quagga mussels could harm an ecosystem.

Allison Zach, coordinator at the Nebraska Invasive Species Program says "the reason that they are so detrimental is because they out compete our native and desired species. So what they are going to be doing is removing all the plankton and nutrients out of that water body which will reduce the amount of food availability for other desired or native species." Read more from KULR-8 here


The Census and Health Care 

Having good data is the cornerstone of good decision making in public health. Without an accurate population count, the resources, infrastructure, and care practices that Montana depends on could be at risk. The Census helps determine how hundreds of billions of dollars are allocated to health care programs each year. Montana receives more than $1 billion in federal funds each year just for health care programs. 

Examples of the largest programs supported by Census data include:

  • Medicaid
  • Medicare Part B
  • Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Health Centers Program
  • Reproductive Health Programs: Title X Family Planning Grants, Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grants, and Social Services Block Grants 

Your response to the 2020 Census means that leaders will know where additional health facilities are needed, be able to plan for essential services and disaster preparation, and hire enough health care providers for the next ten years. 

Upcoming Census Events

  • Mid- March:  All Montana public K-12 schools should begin looking for their Census and Schools packet from the State Complete Count Committee. This will include a Census activity book for K-6 and all schools will receive posters, fact sheets, rack cards, and a Statics in Schools brochure. Educators, please keep your eyes open for these items and help Montana's children obtain a complete count for their future.
  • March 12 - 31:  Montana households will begin receiving official Census Bureau materials with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone, or by mail. Watch for a postcard to be mailed to you or left in a packet along with the Census form on your front door.
  • March 30 - April 1: The Census Bureau will count people who are experiencing homelessness over these three days.
  • April 1: Census Day!
  • Throughout April:  Census takers will begin visiting college students who live on campus, people living in senior centers, and others who live among large groups of people.
  • May - July: Census takers will begin visiting homes that haven't responded to the 2020 Census to help make sure everyone is counted.

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


MissoulaRobin Selvig's Legacy Takes to the Big Screen at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival—Everyone knows the name Robin Selvig, the man who led the Montana Lady Griz women's basketball program for 30 years and built the program to what it is today.

A few years back, one of his former players, Megan Harrington, along with the help of many others, decided to tell the story of how the legendary coach went outside the norms of coaching standards at the time to create one of the most dominant women's basketball programs in the nation. Read more from MTN Sports here

MontanaMontana "Southern Route" Passenger Rail Idea Generating "Mixed" Reaction—Missoula County Commissioner Dave Strohmaier says the idea of restarting passenger rail service across southern Montana is getting a "mixed" reaction with other county leaders. Still, he feels more people will warm to the idea after a special conference in Missoula this spring.

Strohmeier has long been an advocate of returning passenger rail connections across the so-called "Southern Route", from Billings to Bozeman -- replacing the old Butte stop with a new connection to Helena and then west through Missoula to Seattle, and perhaps even linking to Denver. Read more from KPAX here

Other News

Are you REAL ID Ready? 

On October 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will officially begin enforcing the REAL ID Act of 2005 at airports. This will require all Americans to present REAL ID-compliant identification to go through security.

As of October 2019, an estimated 99 million Americans do not have a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or an acceptable alternative identification (e.g. passport). A majority of Americans (57%) are unaware of the October 1, 2020 deadline for enforcement. This could mean tens of millions of passengers are turned away on October 1, 2020 for not having the necessary documents to fly. 

Use the resources in this toolkit from the U.S. Travel Association (USTA) to encourage travelers to get #REALIDready today. For specific information on REAL ID in Montana, click here

Coronavirus Puts State Health Officials on Alert

The COVID-19 virus has officials with the Montana Department of Health and Human Services hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

Jim Murphy, chief of the agency’s Communicable Disease Bureau, said there’s currently a low risk of infection in the United States. “However, we know that may not be the case much longer," he said. "We’re trying to prepare for what could be coming our way.” 

Murphy said American health officials are contending with plenty of unanswered questions, including how the virus spreads and what the most effective treatments are. Read more from MTPR here.

Other Dates/Events to Note

March 18, 2020—SBDC Day (Held annually on the 3rd Wednesday in March)SBDC Day is a national, collective proclamation of the success and impact America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) have across the nation in economic development and the small businesses community. For more information, click here

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. 

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 3-9, 2020National Travel & Tourism Week—Celebrate travel’s contributions during National Travel and Tourism Week, May 3-9. Travel is more than just fun—it’s an industry that has a significant impact on nearly every sector across the U.S., a role to play in policies concerning trade, security and commerce and innumerable benefits for Americans nationwide. That’s why our theme for National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) this year, from May 3-9, is Travel Works. Every day during this week, the U.S. Travel Association (USTA) will highlight a different way that this theme rings true across America. Learn more here

May 28-29, 2020MEDA Spring Conference (Helena)

September 14-16, 2020—The 2020 Business of Outdoor Recreation Summit (Great Falls)—Led by the Montana Office of Outdoor Recreation and co-hosted by the Crown of the Continent Geotourism Council and Montana Trails Coalition, this summit is an enhanced follow-up to the 2018 inaugural full Business of Outdoor Recreation Summit. This year's summit is capped at 350 participants from Montana, The Greater Crown of the Continent Region and beyond, ranging from industry, community and conservation. The summit will offer tools that will help facilitate interaction between attendees and create concrete opportunities to utilize and integrate into future work. Registration opens on May 4, 2020. To learn more, click here

October 6-8, 2020—The 2020 NAISMA Annual Conference is the organization’s 27th Annual Conference (Whitefish)—Co-Sponsored with the Montana Invasive Species Council, the conference will include field trips to 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