Friday Flash 5/1/2020

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Reminders/Updates for our Tourism Partners


Guidance for tourism industry partners regarding COVID-19 is available here. 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.

Update on Coronavirus’ Impact on American Travel–Week of April 27 from Destination Analysts

As American travelers prioritize staying safe from infection over the coming six months, they most want businesses like restaurants, malls, theme parks and sports venues to provide hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, as well as clearly explain their cleaning/sanitizing procedures.

Key Findings to Know this Week

  • American Travelers are Gradually Feeling Safer: Personal concern about contracting the virus, the perceived safety of large events like professional sports games and live performances, and the avoidance of travel until the coronavirus situation is over have all improved.
  • Some Effects Are Lessening: The percent canceling a trip because of the coronavirus is at a 4-week low; meanwhile postponements are at a 4-week high. Agreement about staycationing is at a 3-week low, while taking more road trips this year to avoid air travel and avoiding travel outside the United States are both at a 6-week lows. The percent who say they will change the types of travel destinations they choose to visit is back down to 30.7%, although over half continue to say they will avoid crowded destinations when they travel again.
  • Now Is Still Not the Time for Travel: Americans continue to largely associate fear and uncertainty with travel right now. This week 63.5% agree they don’t want visitors coming to their community right now, although the strength of their agreement with this sentiment has lessened.
  • Desired Protocols for Future Travel: Americans look likely to prioritize staying safe from infection, (even over making money and their emotional well-being) and thus want to see businesses provide hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and well-explained cleaning procedures. However, in what becomes common business practices, Boomers want new policies like health screenings more than younger travelers.

Read more from the Destination Analysts report here.

Save the Dates...

  • Tourism Partner Call—This regularly scheduled call is dedicated to the six tourism Regions, 19 CVBs and specific industry stakeholders. Upcoming meetings are listed below. Please update your calendars. For assistance or information regarding this bi-monthly call, please contact Kev Campbell or call her at 406.841.2887. 
    • May 27
    • July 22
    • September 23
    • November 25
  • May 4, 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 


Staff Updates


Please join us in welcoming Kate Siberell to the marketing team as the new Content Manager. She joins us from her previous position as the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for Made in Montana in the Industry Services and Outreach Bureau. Kate started her new role on Monday, April 27.

Kate grew up in Montana and holds a deep love for the state, rooted in her passion for outdoor recreation. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Montana. When she’s not using her storytelling skills to bring relatability to marketing efforts, you can find her kicking up dust on the single track or flowing into an “ocho” at Helena’s local tango studio.

Tourism Partner Resources

Please visit the Tourism Partner Resource page at for tourism related COVID-19 resources and information. New this week is information on public lands, parks and recreation areas. We will continue to update regularly through the week. 

Made in Montana

Choose Local

As we continue to practice social distancing, you can support your local Taste our Place establishments by ordering takeout or delivery. You can also purchase gift cards from your favorite retailer or shop directly from your favorite Made in Montana producer online. Visit to find Made in Montana producers and retailers near you.  

Grown in Montana

COVID-19 Resources for Farmer's Markets

Farmers markets are innately social gathering places that have historically provided a direct market for local farmers to sell their fresh fruits and vegetables directly to members of their community. They also provide an opportunity for at-risk populations to access nutritious foods through programs like SNAP and Double SNAP Dollars programs.

Because of this, our state government has listed farmers markets, farm stands, and any other food businesses as essential business operations, exempt from closure orders as long as they can maintain social distancing measures. In response, CFAC, NCAT, and AERO, worked with the Montana Department of Agriculture to provide specific guidelines for operating farmers markets in Montana under COVID19. You can read the Montana guidelines here

Montana Film Office


We are so thrilled to tell you that the indie film “Cowboys”, shot in the Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls and Glacier had an amazing reception at the Tribeca Film Festival. While all of the in-person screenings were cancelled, the jury was able to screen all the films. This film received a grant from the Big Sky Film Grant program. 

The classic Western, with its musings and missives on rugged masculinity, has always held an abiding fascination for gender-playful kids who lean towards the boy-ish side of the spectrum. The Paul Newman and Robert Redford vehicle “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” has long been a unifying favorite from the genre, and not simply because it gave us the term “butch.” The film’s outlaw buddy dynamic, and its tragic yet heroic ending, resonates deeply with the gender-transgressive kid — who is used to feeling alone and unseen. Most of us probably first watched the movie with our dads, making it all the more poignant.

Evoking the magic of this charged classic, “Cowboys” is a modern day buddy Western that puts the complicated father figure and his adoring trans kid at the center. The first feature from writer/director Anna Kerrigan, “Cowboys” is as sweeping in grand landscapes as it is delicate in scope. Kerrigan’s script keeps the focus tight on four main characters, effectively crafting a satisfying adventure into a subtle excavation of masculinity — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Read more from IndieWire here

Outdoor Recreation

A Message from Montana FWP

With Governor Steve Bullock's phased approach to reopening the state, which was announced April 22, people looking to get outside and enjoy spring will continue to have ample opportunities to do so. 

Most of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ sites typically open and operational at this time of year remain so. This includes all FWP fishing access sites, most state parks and those wildlife management areas that don’t have seasonal closures.

Overnight camping opportunities will resume at most FWP fishing access sites and state parks today. For a full list of guidelines and updates, click here.

A Message Xanterra Regarding Operations in Yellowstone National Park for Summer 2020

These are unprecedented times with the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The health and safety of our guests and employees are our top priorities. We have been closely monitoring the guidance and recommendations of public health agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) as well as federal, state, and local governments.

Given the ongoing and ever-stricter guidelines from the CDC, WHO, as well as federal and state governments to limit gatherings, we have made the difficult decision to suspend our operations through Sunday, June 14. However, given the fluid situation, our current plans, dates, and service levels are subject to change based on the situations and circumstances that develop in the future. Based on current guidance, we are planning to open up limited lodging and services beginning on June 15.

This decision was not easy and we recognize the significant impact on your travel plans, but we know that this is the responsible path forward to continue to help slow the spread of the disease.

We look forward to re-opening as of Monday, June 15, 2020. Read more from Xanterra here


It's Easy to Self-Respond to the Census!

Montanans can fill out their Census forms online at or by phone at 1.844.330.2020. Responding to the census is easy, and your official Census ID number is not needed to fill out the form online or by phone. 

Montana receives an estimated $2 billion in federal funds each year based on Census data. For every Montana resident counted, a Census study estimates the state will receive $20,000 over the decade for things like schools, healthcare and highways.

Did you know that $1 billion each year are allocated for Montana healthcare programs alone. Montana hospitals, clinics, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and more receive funding that depends on an accurate count. 

The Census also provides the critical population data needed to prevent the transmission of communicable and infectious diseases. An undercount means states don’t have the right demographic information when trying to establish rates around disease tracking, outbreaks, and distribute the correct amount of public health resources to impacted areas in Montana. The government and health care providers are currently using census population data at every level to direct efforts and funding during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more at CENSUS.MT.GOV.


ITRR Report: Tourism-Related Business Owners Speak Out About COVID-19 Impacts

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been sweeping the globe for the past few months, leading to worldwide travel restrictions, including a shelter in place order and closure of non- essential businesses in Montana.

The Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research (ITRR) at the University of Montana emailed a survey to tourism-related business owners around Montana. Two separate rounds of the COVID-19 business survey were emailed during March. The purpose of this report was to analyze and synthesize open ended responses written by tourism-related business owners and managers on a COVID-19 survey as it pertains to Montana, and is based on comments from the second round of surveys representing a sample of 919 Montana tourism- related business owners/managers.

Thank you to all who have responded to our recent surveys. If you shared the COVID-19 survey link to members in an organization, be sure to also share this report with them. In addition the quantitative results of the business survey can be found here. Impact of COVID-19 on Montana's Tourism-Related Businesses and the traveler survey results can be found here

Other News

National Travel and Tourism Week May 3-9 #SpiritOfTravel

The coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency is having an unprecedented impact on the travel industry and the entire economy. Now more than ever, the travel and tourism community must come together, support each other and remind our country that even through the most difficult times, the Spirit of Travel cannot be broken.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020—NTTW Virtual Road Trip: Join your travel colleagues for a #VirtualRoadTrip across America highlighting the destinations, small businesses and attractions that make up America’s Spirit of Travel to celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week. Click HERE for more information and the full schedule including a stop in Montana!

For more resources and information on how you can get involved with National Travel and Tourism Week, click here

Funding Resources

USDA Implements Immediate Measures to Help Rural Residents, Businesses and Communities Affected by COVID-19

USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Rural Development will keep our customers, partners, and stakeholders continuously updated as more actions are taken to better serve rural America.

Read the full announcement here to learn more about the opportunities USDA Rural Development is implementing to provide immediate relief to our customers, partners, and stakeholders

USDA’s COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide Lists Federal Programs That Can Help Rural Communities, Organizations and Residents Impacted by COVID-19

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on Monday unveiled a one-stop-shop of federal programs that can be used by rural communities, organizations and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide is a first-of-its-kind resource for rural leaders looking for federal funding and partnership opportunities to help address this pandemic.
Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities preparing for and impacted by COVID-19,” Perdue said. “This resource guide will help our rural leaders, whether they are in agriculture, education, health care or any other leadership capacity, understand what federal assistance is available for their communities during this unprecedented time.”

USDA has taken many immediate actions to assist farmers, ranchers, producers, rural communities, and rural-based businesses and organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on these actions, click here

Other Dates/Events to Note

September 14-16, 2020The 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.

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. For more information, 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