Friday Flash 11/13/2020

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Reminders/Updates for our Tourism Partners

Marketing Method Evaluation/End-of-Year Reporting Must be Completed by the January 1, 2021 Deadline!

In order to meet that date, organizations should have already submitted the essential first pieces of reporting – the Budget to Actual Comparison report (download from QuickBooks®) and the single updated pie chart showing actual expenses as a percentage of total marketing budget, into the appropriate FY20 WebGrants form. A review of this requirement is underway.  

The next step is one-on-one virtual meetings to go over the reporting in WebGrants to identify any issues that need attention in order to have time to correct and resubmit. The Zoom meetings will be scheduled with each organization over the next four weeks (November 16—December 16). Please contact Kev Campbell to request a meeting date.

Resources are available. Visit the Tourism Regions, CVBs and Partners Resources page for updated resources and Marketing Method Evaluation documents including template language that may be customized for each organization.


Montana Aware Toolkit

Montana Aware is a statewide effort designed to help Montana's tourism partners and local businesses slow the spread of COVID-19 by promoting safety measures for those traveling in the state. You can find the downloadable toolkit and other resources at MARKETMT.COM

Below are some examples of what some of our partners have done in their communities. We will continue to highlight the work that our partners are doing to keep Montana residents and visitors safe. 

Montana Aware Badge

Glacier Country and Whitefish CVB

Distribution of COVID related safety messaging is a requirement of the Tourism Safety Grant. Tourism Regions and CVBs have distributed this safety messaging through printed flyers, posters, and inserts. They are also distributing information through electronic communications to businesses, communities, and visitors planning to come to Montana. Here are examples of an electronic newsletter being sent out by the Glacier Country Tourism Region and the Whitefish CVB.



COVID-19 Relief Funding

Business Related Coronavirus Relief Grant Programs

The Montana Business Adaptability Grant Program is still accepting applications. The deadline to apply is November 15, 2020. For more information on eligibility requirements or 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 November 9 from Destination Analysts

Americans are feeling somewhat more hopeful about the pandemic and travel, but the recent surge has diminished some potential trip volume that may have occurred. An approved vaccine continues to be very promising in bringing a segment of travelers back and increasing travel overall. In the meanwhile, most still want to see people masked in travel ads.

Key Findings to Know: 

  • While Americans overwhelmingly remain in an elevated state of anxiety, fewer feel the coronavirus situation is going to get worse in the next month, the perceptions of travel activities as safe rebounded, and excitement for a potential getaway, openness to travel inspiration and the ability of discounts to motivate travel all improved.
  • Nearly 6-in-10 Americans have returned to a readiness state of mind around travel.
  • A pandemic-high 36.5% of American travelers say they would be happy—or very happy—to see an ad promoting tourism to the place where they live. However, the desire to see people wearing masks in all travel ads has remained strong.
  • The current surge is not without its impact: 60.2% say that the recent increases in COVID-19 cases around the country have made them less likely to travel in the next three months and 41.8% report that they have cancelled or postponed an upcoming leisure trip because of the worsening of the pandemic in the U.S.
  • Nevertheless, eight months into the pandemic, Americans do exhibit signs of adapting towards regaining normalcy, needing fewer circumstances to feel comfortable returning to their pre-COVID lifestyle.
  • Since September, there has been a 5% decrease in the percent that affirm they would take a COVID-19 vaccine that is developed this year or in early 2021 (39.2%), but the length of time Americans say they prefer to wait to take an approved vaccine has lessened.
  • If a COVID-19 vaccine was required before traveling, nearly 60% of American travelers said this would make air travel feel safer and nearly 50% said they this would make cruise travel feel safer. In addition, 36.7% of American travelers say the availability of an official document confirming COVID-19 inoculation would make them more—or much more—likely to travel in the next 12 months.
  • When asked about the COVID-related protocols they feel are absolutely necessary to feel comfortable attending special events and festivals, desires are similar to retail businesses, in that they want masking, frequent cleaning and limited crowd sizes to ensure social distancing is possible.

Read more from the Destination Analysts report here.

Save the Dates...

  • Tourism Partner Call—This bi-monthly call is dedicated to the six tourism Regions, 18 CVBs and specific industry stakeholders. The calls are held on the fourth Wednesday, every other month from 10:00-11:00 a.m. For assistance or information regarding this call, please contact Kev Campbell or call her at 406.841.2887.
    • November 25, 2020
    • January 27, 2021
    • March 24, 2021
    • May 26, 2021
    • July 28, 2021
    • September 22, 2021
    • November 24, 2021
  • December 30, 2020—Final Day for Tourism Safety Grant Expenditures
  • January 1, 2021—Region/CVB Marketing Method Evaluation Reports Due
  • January 20, 2021—Region/CVB 2nd Quarter Financial Reports Due 
  • February 8-9, 2021TAC Meeting 
  • April 20, 2021—Region/CVB 3rd Quarter Financial Reports Due 
  • June 14-15, 2021TAC Meeting 
  • July 20, 2021—Region/CVB 4th Quarter Financial Reports Due 

Tourism Grant Program

Applications for Tourism Grants due by November 30! 

The application cycle for Tourism Grants is now open. The 2021 application cycle will accept applications from eligible entities until November 30, 2020.

The Tourism Grant Program funds projects that strengthen Montana’s economy through the development and enhancement of Montana’s tourism and recreation industry. A total of $750,000 is available for projects that develop and enhance tourism and recreation products that have the potential to increase non-resident visitation.

Projects funded in the 2021 cycle must be completed by June of 2022. Entities in Montana that are eligible to apply for a Tourism Grant include registered non-profit 501(c) organizations and city, tribal or county governments.

Funds will be awarded to tourism and recreation projects that fall within the categories of:

  • Arts/Culture /Heritage Preservation: Projects that preserve, protect, or restore Montana’s arts, culture, and/or heritage treasures
  • Visitor Facility Upgrades/Construction: Projects that will enhance the non-resident visitor experience and increase expenditures
  • Niche Product Development: Projects of interest to non-resident visitors as identified in Montana Destination Brand Research Study

For more information or to apply for a grant, visit MARKETMT.COM/TOURISMGRANTS.

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   


Social Media 

Visit Montana's social channels have been providing inspiration for travelers everywhere since its inception. Along with providing endless beauty to followers, Visit Montana's social team has been implementing the messaging behind the state's safety awareness campaign. You will see the use of photography from the recent safety photoshoot, featuring people wearing masks and following the state's safety standards while experiencing everything Montana has to offer. Follow along on Instagram and Facebook.

Visit MT Social Media

Outdoor Recreation

Aquatic Invasive Species Virtual Summit—November 18, 2020 

The Montana Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Program is hosting a virtual AIS Summit on November 18, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks staff will present information about the 2020 AIS prevention, early detection and outreach programs and share plans for the 2021 season. Registration is free and closes on November 17, 2020. Persons interested in attending the AIS Summit can register here

To learn more, go to or call the FWP Aquatic Invasive Species Bureau at 406.444.2440.

Free Entrance to National Parks, Refuges and Other Public Lands for Gold Star Families and Military Veterans

On behalf of the Trump Administration and in support of America’s military members and families, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt signed Secretary’s Order 3387 at the Iowa Gold Star Museum in October, announcing that Gold Star Families and U.S. military veterans will be granted free access to national parks, national wildlife refuges and other federal lands managed by the Department of the Interior starting on Veterans Day (Nov. 11) this year and every day onward.

Entrance fees for the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System, and standard amenity recreation fees for the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Reclamation sites will be waived for veterans and Gold Star Families. They will have free access to approximately 2,000 public locations spread out across more than 400 million acres of public lands, which host activities to fit any lifestyle, from serene to high octane, including hiking, fishing, paddling, biking, hunting, stargazing and rock climbing. Additionally, lands and waters managed by the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are participating in the program. Read more from the U.S. Department of Interior here.

Other News

The Rough Road for Millennials During the Coronavirus Pandemic

It is no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on our lives, our priorities and our emotions. In the 34th wave of our Coronavirus Travel Sentiment Index Study, we asked American travelers about their lifestyle priorities over the next six months and how they’ve been recently feeling.

When asked how they will prioritize each of several aspects in the next six months—similar to when we have asked this question in the past—staying safe from infection is what American travelers will most prioritize, with 78.6% who currently say that it is a high or essential priority. And this is followed by emotional well-being, finding joy, relaxation and escape from stress—all of which are aspects that travel can certainly deliver.

In looking at this recent data by generation, Baby Boomers are the likeliest to prioritize staying safe from infection in the next six months, while Millennials are least likely to do so. Meanwhile, when it comes to escaping stress and making money, these are much higher priorities for Millennials than for Boomers. This perhaps is not so surprising, as Millennials appear to be the most stressed out generation.

On a 10-point scale from “1=No stress” to “10=Severe, frequent stress,” Millennials reported an average daily stress level of 6.2 in the last month, while Baby Boomers reported a lower average stress level of 4.7. Millennials are more stressed, and escaping stress in the next six months is a high priority. Read more from Destination Analysts here.

Funding Resources

Montana Main Street Program Grant Application Cycle Opens December 8, 2020!

The Montana Main Street Program awards grant funding to member communities on a competitive basis and as funding allows. Applications are evaluated by the Department of Commerce in the order that they are received and grants will be awarded on a continual basis until all funds are allocated. 

Funding can be used to address long range community planning and revitalization needs as well as more specific prioritized projects. Priority will be given to projects that demonstrate the implementation of larger community vision and goals or as they relate to previous or concurrent larger planning efforts (such as a downtown revitalization plan, growth policy, historic preservation plan, etc.). For more information or to apply, click here

If you have questions regarding the application process or guidelines, please contact our office to work with a Community Development Division team member at 406.841.2770 or by email at

Workforce Recovery Program

The Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund (BSTF) Workforce Recovery program is designed to support Montana businesses that had to lay-off employees and/or reduce the hours of the employee to part-time status due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Commerce will reimburse Montana businesses based on the growth of jobs up to pre COVID-19 levels.

The Workforce Recovery program will reimburse a business for the wages of full-time, permanent jobs that are created and retained for at least six months, up to a maximum of 25 jobs per business. Businesses apply directly to the program. A reimbursement of up to $7,500 per job is available to businesses in high-poverty counties. The business must match $3,750 per job. A reimbursement of up to $5,000 per job, with a $5,000 match, is available for businesses in all other counties.

Please reference the guidelines for further information on the program. Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis until funding is exhausted or December 31, 2020, whichever comes first. For more information or to apply, click here

FWP Recreation Grant Program Application Cycle Now Open

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is now accepting grant applications for four recreation grant programs via the online system at

Applications for the following grant programs are due by Monday, February 1, 2021:

  • New! Montana Trail Stewardship Grant Program
  • New! Summer Motorized Trail Pass Grant Program
  • Recreational Trails Program
  • Off-Highway Vehicle Grant Program

FWP is offering virtual training sessions for prospective applicants from October through January. These sessions are free and highly recommended for new and returning applicants to any of the four grant programs. During the training, FWP staff will provide tips on writing a competitive application, using the grant management software to submit an application, and understanding differences and similarities between programs. Online trainings via Zoom will be held on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, December 8, 2020: 12:00 – 4:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, January 7, 2021: 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

For more information on attending a grant application training session or applying to one of these opportunities, visit STATEPARKS.MT.GOV/RECREATION.  

Other Dates/Events to Note

November 19, 2020 (2:00-3:00 p.m.)Social Media Marketing: From Beginner to Selling Online Series from SBDC. Sell Online with E-Commerce ToolsMore shoppers are headed online than ever before! In this workshop, we will discuss a variety of ways you can sell your product online and how to choose the right software and platform for your business. To register for this workshop, click here

January 11-February 28, 2021—Cultural Heritage Tourism Certificate Program (Online)—The Professional Certificate Program in Cultural Heritage Tourism, produced by AIANTA (American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association) in partnership with the George Washington University, is designed to provide tourism entrepreneurs and community leaders with tools to identify assets and develop tourism programs that preserve cultural identity and authenticity.

The online program brings together industry experts who help students explore the importance of including authentic Native American cultural experiences in their tourism planning.

Courses include narrated presentations, live webinars, online discussions and practical tools and resources participants can apply in their day-to-day experiences planning tourism programs. for more information, click here