Friday Flash 8/7/2020

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Glacier Country

Reminders/Updates for our Tourism Partners

Wildfire Updates

The Montana Department of Commerce will again provide relevant wildfire updates for tourism partners and the traveling public at our webpage TRAVELAWARE.MT.GOV. The page will be updated daily or as fire activity impacts popular destination areas.

COVID-19 Homepage

Montana Tourism Industry Unites for ‘Montana Aware’ Campaign

17 CVBs, 6 tourism regions to participate in statewide effort to promote safety measures

The Montana Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism and Business Development has launched the “Montana Aware” campaign to promote safe and responsible behavior among those who are traveling in the state. The public health initiative aims to educate residents and visitors on best practices to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Our top priority is to keep those who live, work and travel in Montana safe,” said Commerce Director Tara Rice. “It’s important that we put safety first and adventure second because we all have a shared responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19.” 

Montana Aware Badge

The “Montana Aware” initiative is a formalized effort encouraging Montana’s tourism partners and local businesses to use flyers, posters, social media messages, customer emails and business websites to help inform guests about public health guidelines and best practices. The Montana Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism and Business Development first began promoting a safety message on June 1 and worked with tourism partners to do the same. Through the formal “Montana Aware” campaign, 17 of Montana’s Convention and Visitors Bureaus and six tourism regions share $5 million to promote the initiative.

Safe Travel Guidelines Before travelers hit the road, they should, “Know before you go.”

  • Know the local public health guidelines before arriving to their destination
  • Understand some services and destinations may be limited
  • Stay home if they’re sick

When travelers are on the road, they should:

  • Wear a mask – face coverings are required in certain indoor spaces and for certain organized outdoor activities in counties currently experiencing four or more active case of COVID-19
  • Maintain social distance (at least 6 feet apart)
  • Wash their hands and use hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching their face
  • Cover coughs and sneezes

The “Montana Aware” initiative is funded with federal dollars through Montana’s Coronavirus Relief Fund. For more information about the Montana Aware program go to VISITMT.COM

Montana Aware Toolkit

You can find the downloadable toolkit and other resources at MARKETMT.COM


COVID-19 Relief Funding

Montana Coronavirus Relief Funding Resources

Families, small businesses, non-profits, health services centers and individuals across Montana hardest-hit by impacts of COVID-19 are eligible to apply for grants through new programs created in response to the emergency. For a complete list of available grant programs, eligibility requirements and to apply, visit COVIDRELIEF.MT.GOV.

Transparency Dashboard Updated Weekly

The state of Montana has launched a dynamic dashboard that shows the Coronavirus Relief Fund grants that have been awarded to businesses and nonprofits. This dashboard will be updated weekly until all grant dollars have been expended. 

Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus—Week of August 3 from Destination Analysts

While those with trip plans largely say they are headed to beaches and other nature-based destinations, over half of American travelers don’t have leisure trip plans for the remainder of 2020. Can they be motivated?

Key Findings to Know: 

  • Many Americans shifted from feeling the pandemic would get worse in the next month to feeling things would be about the same.

  • Concerns about personally contracting the virus have been elevated among Millennial travelers over the past month.

  • The proportion of American travelers that say they would be happy to see an ad promoting their community for tourism when it is safe has receded to 29.1% from 35.8% at the end of June.

  • Right now it appears the regional effects and response to the pandemic will have a lingering impact on destination brands. Nearly one-third of American travelers say they are less likely to visit the American destinations that they most associate with Coronavirus-related issues, even after the pandemic ends.

  • American travelers are also more polarized in their travel readiness state of mind. While 48.5% report having leisure trip plans during one or more months in the remainder of the year, sadly, 51.5% do not currently have any leisure trip plans in 2020.

  • Those who do not have trip plans this year are, unsurprisingly, more concerned about the virus, but interestingly less likely to be travelers that typically visited National Parks and other types of public lands prior to the pandemic.

  • Among those that will be traveling in 2020, plans for their next trip are largely well-formed, with beaches, National Parks and other rural areas most cited as the destinations.

  • Over one third of American travelers with school-age kids say they are more likely to take family trips this fall if their children do not have in-person education; 21% feel less likely.

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.
    • September 23
    • November 25
  • October 5-6, 2020—TAC Meeting 
  • February 8-9, 2021—TAC Meeting 
  • June 14-15, 2021—TAC Meeting 

Made in Montana

Choose Local

As Montana is reopening, we encourage you to support your local businesses. If you are interested in locally sourced ingredients, check out this list of our Taste our Place members and savor Montana flavor. You can also find Made in Montana producers and retailers in your area by visiting   

Montana Film News

"Yellowstone" TV Series Looking for Extras

If you are a fan of "Yellowstone", here's your chance to be a part of it. 

"Yellowstone" is back for season 4 and will be filming the entire season in the Bitterroot Valley.

  • Looking for men and women ages 9-99.
  • At this time we are looking for folks in the Bitterroot Valley and Missoula areas and will be filming Late August- November.

What you need to include to be considered: 

  1. Current photo (no family photos please) of yourself
  2. Full name
  3. Best contact number to reach you
  4. Height, weight, and clothing sizes. Men to include shirt, pant and shoe size; Ladies to include bra, waist, hip, dress, pant and shoe size.
  5. Age
  6. City you live in
  7. Current occupation
  8. Include your car or truck and if you have a horse trailer. A photo would be great. Year, make and color.

For more information, check out the Yellowstone Montana Extras Facebook page. Be sure to read all of the details and follow their preferred contact instructions.

Office of Indian Country Economic Development

2021 Indian Equity Fund Small Business Grant

Assist startup or expanding Native American businesses in Montana.

GRANT APPLICATION PERIOD: Aug. 1 to Sept. 30, 2020

ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS: The funds are available to enrolled members of the tribes in Montana. All applications must include documentation of tribal enrollment in the form of a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) or tribal ID. An application will be considered incomplete without this information.

GRANT AMOUNT: Awards for individual businesses can be up to $14,000 with a minimum dollar-to-dollar cash or in-kind match ($1:$1) and must be firmly committed and documented in the application.

Learn More Orange

Outdoor Recreation

History Is Made with the Signing of the Great American Outdoors Act

It was a remarkable day for America’s beloved national parks: On August 4, 2020, President Donald Trump signed into law the Great American Outdoors Act (H.R. 1957), a bill that will provide a dedicated source of funding to address the deferred maintenance backlog in National Park Service (NPS) sites and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Following the signing, Department of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt signed a proclamation designating August 4 Great American Outdoors Day, an annual admission fee-free day that celebrates this monumental victory for our country’s public lands. Read more from the U.S. Travel Association here.

FWP Joins Coalition that Promotes Responsible Recreation

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has joined the Recreate Responsibly Coalition. This national coalition is a working group made up of land managers, nonprofits and outdoor businesses developing and sharing best practices to promote common sense guidance about getting outside during the COVID-19 pandemic.

FWP’s participation in the coalition coincides with the launch of Montana Aware, the state’s safe travel initiative being led by the Montana Department of Commerce in partnership with 17 Convention and Visitors Bureaus and six tourism regions. The campaign promotes safe and responsible behavior among those traveling in the state. The two efforts focus on educating travelers and recreationists on the best way to safely enjoy Montana and help slow the spread of COVID-19. ​Read more from the Bitterroot Star here.

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

Butte (Montana Tech)Montana Technological University Featured on CNBC Make It’s “U.S. Colleges that Pay Off the Most” List—Montana Technological University was featured on CNBC Make It’s list of the “Top 50 Colleges that Pay Off the Most.” The list, released July 28, placed Montana Tech No. 23 nationally among public colleges and universities and was the only college in Montana to make the list for the second consecutive year in a row.

This is exciting news for Montana Tech and even more so for our graduates,” said Montana Tech’s Chancellor Les Cook. “We know we provide a great educational experience for our students and have faculty and staff dedicated to making a difference. Landing on this list with top universities from across the country reaffirms this investment.”

CNBC Make it calculated rankings based on the true net cost of the college and graduates’ reported annual earnings. Read more from Montana Tech here


Complete the 2020 Census Now!

Filling out the Census is quick, easy, and safe. It will take less than 10 minutes to complete and your information and privacy are protected by federal law. Montanans can fill out their Census forms online at or by phone at 1.844.330.2020. The Census is also available via TDD (Telephone Display Device) at 844.467.2020. Learn more at CENSUS.MT.GOV.

Other Dates/Events to Note

October 4-6, 2020Northwest USA Spotlight Tourism Conference (Helena)—Spotlight is a 2.5 day tourism conference with educational seminars, networking functions, site-seeing tours and a supplier trade show. Attendance will consist of 30-35 QUALIFIED group tour operators and buyers (coming from all over the US and Canada) along with about 25-30 Suppliers. For more information, click here

October 6-8, 2020—The 2020 NAISMA (North American Invasive Species Management Association) Annual Conference (Virtual)—The 2020 NAISMA Annual Conference will be held on a virtual platform rather than our traditional in-person meeting in order to keep everyone safe and healthy. 

This year’s virtual conference will be presented live during the conference dates. Sessions will also be recorded for post-event attendee access. Attendees will be able to log in to view presentations for up to 1 year after the event. To learn more, click here

October 20, 2020 (Sidney) and October 22, 2020 (Butte)—Rise and Restore Small Business Summit—The Rise and Restore Small Business Summit is in response to COVID-19. Hear how industry experts and other small business owners have been maintaining their business, stabilizing their profit and protecting their team in response to COVID-19. To learn more or register, click here