Friday Flash 3/13/2020

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Reminders/Updates for our Tourism Partners

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

To our partners: Please know that the Department of Commerce is monitoring the economic impacts of this public health situation in real time. All public policy options are being considered.

Guidance for tourism industry partners regarding COVID-19 is available at This web post will be updated with new information as it becomes available. We urge the traveling public to stay informed, seek information from reputable sources, and take preventative measures, like washing your hands, to protect against COVID-19.

Read more from Gov. Bullock: A message from Governor Bullock regarding COVID-19

Save the Dates...

  • March 13, 2020—Made in Montana Tradeshow Wholesalers Day (Helena). UPDATE: The annual Made in Montana Tradeshow will be limited to wholesale buyers to protect against the possibility of spreading novel coronavirus or COVID-19. There are no known cases of COVID-19 in Montana. We recommend that wholesale buyers and sellers who plan to attend the tradeshow exercise proper hygiene and stay home if sick. The show will not be open to the public on Saturday, March 14.
  • March 18, 2020—SBDC Day will celebrate the impact of Small Business Development Centers in Montana on social media only using #SBDCDay
  • Bi-Monthly Tourism Partner Call—Calls will be held on the following dates. 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 

MOTBD News/Program Updates

Tourism Grant Program

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-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 hosting a Wednesday Webinar Series from the Destination Development Association.  

  • 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 4—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.


The Census is Here! Time to Start Looking for Your 2020 Census Invitation. 

Households across Montana will begin receiving their initial invitation to respond to the 2020 Census in the mail between March 12-20. Responding to the Census is quick, easy and safe. Your responses matter. A complete count of Montanans ensures we receive our fair share of federal funding for things like schools, healthcare and highways. Census data also shapes local voting districts and will determine if Montana gains a second seat in Congress. Watch for your official invitation to respond to the Census online, by phone or by mail. Make it count, Montana! 

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

Bozeman—Bozeman Beckons Winter Adventurers to Montana for a College-Meets-Ski-Town Getaway—I was taking off my boots after a long day of backcountry skiing when ice climber Matt Beavon emerged from the woods with a gleeful smile, ice axes strapped to his backpack. We’d never met, but within seconds, he had thrust a beat-up smartphone at me. “Look at this ice!” he exclaimed, feverishly scrolling through photo after photo of frozen waterfalls.

That kind of enthusiasm for the mountains — and an eagerness to share it, even with complete strangers — defines Montana’s Gallatin Valley, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains on Yellowstone National Park’s doorstep. While summertime crowds throng the valley on their way to the iconic park, in winter, Bozeman transforms from tourist to college town, where a minor in skiing is so popular that the Montana State University campus store sells official merchandise labeled “Bridger Bowl University” after the local ski hill, visible from town. Read more from the Seattle TImes here

Other News

Silver Lining: Are Staycations About to Have Their Moment?

A wide variety of industry experts and observers are suggesting that if there’s a silver lining to COVID-19 travel and tourism chaos and confusion, it’s got to be the ‘staycation.’

A collection of comments on staycations from various professional sources:

I’m going to ask you to stay local…staycations. Take advantage of the discounts the hotels in our region are providing…and then continue to live your lives and not be paralyzed by fear.” – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner

…People are beginning to question whether they should travel abroad, with many cancelling or re-arranging their summer holiday plans. However, one potential winner out of this could be staycations.” – Nick Wyatt, Head of R&A, Travel & Tourism at GlobalData, a leading London-based data and analytics company.

A lot of our patients who were going on babymoons are deciding to have staycations instead.” – Dr. Roxanna A. Irani, M.D., Ph.D., the medical director of outpatient obstetrics at the University of California, San Francisco in Parenting column of The New York Times. Read more from The Travel Verticle 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. The fourth annual SBDC Day will be celebrated in Montana on social media only using #SDBCDay. 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. The theme for National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) this year 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 4-6, 2020Northwest USA Spotlight Tourism Conference (Helena)—Previously scheduled for May, this tourism conference which is attended by qualified tour operators and suppliers, has been rescheduled for October 4-6, 2020. A pre-fam is being planned, with the operators visiting sites in Great Falls, Butte, Deer Lodge and Missoula. For more information, please contact Erinn Donnell with Visit Helena at 406.443.2117 or 

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