Friday Flash 1/22/21

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Reminders/Updates for our Tourism Partners

Save the Dates...

  • Tourism Partner Call—This bi-monthly call is dedicated to the six tourism Regions, 18 CVBs, the Montana Tourism Advisory Council 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 406.438.7011. 
    • January 27, 2021
    • March 24, 2021
    • May 26, 2021
    • July 28, 2021
    • September 22, 2021
    • November 24, 2021
  • February 8, 2021TAC Meeting via Zoom (Agenda and meeting details coming soon)
  • 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 

Montana Aware Safety Messaging

Montana Aware Badge

Montana Aware Toolkit & Resources

The Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development has been hard at work promoting the safety and wellness of our citizens and visitors through the "Montana Aware Campaign".

Businesses wanting additional resources can access the downloadable toolkit and other information at MARKETMT.COM/ISO/Montana-Aware-Toolkit

Tourism Grant Program

2021 Tourism Grant Update

The 2021 Tourism Grant applications are currently being evaluated. We anticipate making an announcement of 2021 awarded projects in the coming weeks. We encourage you to subscribe to receive email updates from the Department of Commerce for other funding opportunities and news by clicking here.

Made in Montana

2021 Made in Montana Tradeshow 

The Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts rescheduled for September 17-18, 2021 (TENTATIVE) in Helena MT at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds.

The public health situation in Montana and Lewis and Clark County continues to evolve and a large event in March 2021 is not a feasible option. To keep our Made in Montana members and Montana community safe, we rescheduled the annual show with a tentative plan for a wholesale and public day trade show that aligns with public health guidelines.

Exhibitor registration will open in early May 2021 and wholesale buyer registration will open in early July 2021. We encourage Made in Montana members to verify their membership status and information in the online directory at is accurate and up to date.

Please Choose Local

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we encourage you to support your local businesses when possible. 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   

International Travel Trade

RMI Seminar

Save the Date! May 12, 2021: Free International Roundup Supplier Seminar

Hosted by the Great American West (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, North Dakota & South Dakota) & Rocky Mountain International 

Save the date for May 12, 2021, and plan to join us for a free virtual seminar to learn more about the international travel recovery process. This seminar will focus on further education about the international tourism industry and bring in key industry players to speak about everyone’s part in the recovery process through collaborative effort.

We cannot welcome international visitors until our borders open and it is safe to travel again. But we are working toward recovery now. If you are a Montana lodging facility, ranch or activity provider and would like to learn how to attract more international guests, as well as learn about recovery efforts and trends in the international markets, please attend this free webinar. You can be part of the recovery process. Suppliers do not need to have attended International Roundup to benefit from this seminar.

This supplier opportunity will be hosted virtually and is completely free to any supplier. If you have questions, please reach out to Kim Birrell

Heritage/Cultural News

Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame Postpones Induction Ceremony Until August

The Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center in Great Falls has postponed its 2020 Inductee Recognition Ceremony & Western Heritage Gathering, normally held in early February each year, to Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021.

Due to local restrictions and an abundance of caution related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are pushing back our annual celebration,” said MCHF & WHC Executive Director Christy Stensland. “Although these have been challenging times for all Montanans, we look forward to the future and the honor of gathering with you in August.”

The planned Inductee Recognition Ceremony Brunch at the Heritage Inn in Great Falls will celebrate the notable accomplishments and lasting legacies of the inductees to the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame Class of 2020. Read more from the Billings Gazette here

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

Big SkyMontage to Open Ski Resort in Montana—In November 2021, Montage is scheduled to open a deluxe 150-key alpine ski resort in Montana. Nestled within Big Sky’s 3,530-acre Spanish Peaks enclave, and less than an hour’s drive from the gates of Yellowstone National Park, Montage Big Sky will offer a year-round mountain paradise for luxury adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Guests will enjoy ski-in, ski-out access to Big Sky Resort’s 5,800 skiable acres, an onsite 18-hole Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course, close proximity to world-renowned fly-fishing along with an abundance of hiking, wildlife spotting, mountain biking, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing trails. Read more from RusTourismNews here

ButteButte Tourism Economy Looks Forward to 2021—The Mining City, or Montana's 'Festival City' as it was known before the pandemic, felt the economic shock after COVID-19 brought tourism to a halt. “2021 it has to be better, it just has to be," said Maria Pochervina, Tourism Director who has spent her time helping businesses within the community stay afloat during the pandemic.

Community members told NBC Montana that they are looking forward to the new year and hopefully a fresh start when it comes to tourism. Read more from NBC Montana here

Great FallsTourism Officials in Great Falls Excited to Rebound in 2021—Tourism officials in Great Falls are looking forward to 2021 and the possibilities it brings for travelers. Great Falls Montana Tourism director Rebecca Engum says while it's a calendar new year, the organization's fiscal year resets on July 1st.

They're approaching a full year without bringing in usual events like Western Art Week, Downtown Summer Jam, the Montana State Fair, and Montana PRCA Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals. The PRCA event was moved to Kalispell this year due to Covid-19. She said last year, around 9,000 tickets were sold over the three day rodeo event in Great Falls. Room demand also grew 12% that week. Read more from KXLF here

COVID-19 Research

Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus—Week of January 18 from Destination Analysts

Although anxiety came down a bit, so too did the highs seen last week in travel sentiment—however, overall, these sentiments remain in one of the better positions they have been in throughout the pandemic. Right now, scenic beauty, outdoor activities in warm weather, beach destinations and resorts, National Parks and road trips are still predominant in travelers’ minds, while returning to live events and festivals is likelier for late in 2021.

Key Findings to Know: 

  • Americans’ anxieties about the pandemic quelled somewhat this week relative to last week, although in a historic context, these largely remain in an elevated state.
  • Nevertheless, Americans continue to show that they believe better days are in sight. The percent of Americans who feel the pandemic situation in the U.S. will get worse in the next month fell another 6.5% this week to 43.2%, the lowest it has been since September 27th.
  • Although anxiety came down a bit, so did the highs seen last week in travel sentiment, as well. The modest decline in travel sentiment was seen across generations, although Boomer travelers are generally significantly less ready, excited and open to inspiration than younger travelers, even over the rest of 2021.
  • One metric that did continue a positive trend is the retreat in perceptions of travel and leisure activities as unsafe—which dropped to 48.9% and is now lower than where it was March 15th.
  • Also down somewhat this week are perceptions of and willingness to take the COVID-19 vaccines. However, over half of Americans feel they will be inoculated by June.
  • In terms of what Americans are looking for in travel experiences in 2021, right now scenic beauty, outdoor activities in warm weather, beach destinations and resorts, National Parks and road trips are predominant in their minds. With the virus still raging, big city and food experiences do not weigh as heavy as they did in pre-pandemic times.
  • Right now, over a third (36.8%) of those Americans who attend live events and festivals say they would be comfortable traveling to attend such an event by June; the rest need more time.
  • Looking at strategies to combat the spread of COVID-19 at events, if all attendees were required to take a COVID-19 test and present a negative result to enter the event, 45.2% of American travelers said this would make them more comfortable. If all attendees were required to show proof of vaccine, 51.0% said this would make them more comfortable attending.
  • Looking specifically at the outlook for the next 3 months, the average number of reported trips in this period is 1.1, up from 1.0 last week. When those that are traveling in this period were asked about the destination types they expect to visit, there has been a modest increase in expectations for travel to cities and beaches, as well as state and regional recreational areas and mountain destinations.

Read more from the Destination Analysts report here

Funding Resources

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:

For more information, click here.  

Other Dates/Events to Note

January 30, 2021—TEDxBigSky—TEDx is returning to Big Sky for its fifth year and this year the theme is "Awakening". The focus will be on presence or consciousness without thought and will feature stories about people helping each other, businesses changing their focus to help the greater good and perspective shifts in the face of need. What began in 1984 as a conference to share new ideas concerning technology, entertainment and design has become one of the most renowned speaking series in the world. TED Talks now cover a wide range of topics and occur around the globe in more than 100 different languages. For more information on speakers, their topics, and updates, please visit the event website.

February 1-2, 2021—Economic Outlook Seminar (Virtual)—For the first time, the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana will host its 46th annual Economic Outlook Seminar event, “The Path Forward, How Covid-19 Has Reshaped the Economy,” via video conference. The seminar will include two nationally recognized keynote speakers, and multiple networking and discussion opportunities with local speakers, panelists and fellow attendees. This two-day virtual event will examine the myths and realities of how the economic landscape has been reshaped by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information or to register, click here