Friday Flash 3/5/21

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RMF-Central MT

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. 
    • March 24, 2021
    • May 26, 2021
    • July 28, 2021
    • September 22, 2021
    • November 24, 2021
  • April 20, 2021—Region/CVB 3rd Quarter Financial Reports Due 
  • May 4, 2021—Region/CVB FY22 Marketing Plans due to MOTBD in WebGrants
  • June 14-15, 2021—TAC Meeting (Via Zoom)
  • July 20, 2021—Region/CVB 4th Quarter Financial Reports Due 
  • October 4, 2021—TAC Meeting

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

Choose Local

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   

2021 Made in Montana Tradeshow 

The Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts is rescheduled for September 10-11, 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.


Montana Matters: Protect Montana Moments

Montana is home to extraordinary experiences and moments that will leave you in awe. With over 147,000 miles to explore, our unspoiled beauty, wonderful wildlife and charming small towns deserve respect and thoughtfulness from visitors and residents alike. With this in mind, the marketing team is excited to announce some new messaging, "Montana Matters."

The new page on is up and running, and we are excited to incorporate this messaging into existing initiatives to encourage visitors and residents to travel responsibly when exploring Montana. Learn more here

Tribal News

Indigenous Entrepreneurs Offer Airbnb Online Experiences

Next time you’re browsing, you may want to consider looking for a different kind of getaway such as these experiences in Montana's Indian Country. Rebekah Jarvey from the Rocky Boy Reservation and Olivia Williamson from the Crow Reservation have both worked hard to create high-quality products and recently launched virtual experiences on Airbnb. To meet standards for accepting new experiences, Rebekah and Olivia prepared by completing a series of trainings that included everything from storyboarding and practice runs to meeting the technical requirements of Airbnb. While there were other native entrepreneurs from the region who completed the same trainings, Rebekah and Olivia are the only ones from Montana. Click links below to learn more about these unique experiences.

  • Indigenous Fashion With Expert Artisan—Rebekah Jarvey is a fourth generation beader and sewist sharing culture & traditions passed on to her through contemporary fashion. Get a glimpse of the origin of a ribbon skirt and how she started with facemasks during her online experience live from Montana's Rocky Boy Reservation.
  • Custer's Last Stand A Native Perspective—In this online experience, Olivia Williamson and other interpretive guides will share details of Battle of the Little Bighorn, which took place on June 25, 1868 in Southeast Montana Crow Country. 

Heritage/Cultural News

Montana Heritage Center

Construction is under way on the new Montana Heritage Center, adjacent to the Montana Historical Society in Helena. 

The 66,000 square foot addition will add 15,000 square feet of gallery space, allowing more of Montana’s treasures to be exhibited. The new building also will house a 6,000-square-foot event center that can hold up to 300 people and can be split in half; a café for patrons, the public and Capitol campus employees; a expanded gift shop and new temperature-controlled storage space and work areas.

The existing Montana Veterans and Pioneers Building, which currently houses the Montana Historical Society, will be renovated as part of the $52 million project. Once finished, that area will include a larger gallery for the Charlie Russell collection; an expanded Research Center; and classrooms.

Construction is expected to wrap up in 2024. In the meantime, the museum exhibits, the research center, and the gift shop will remain open to the public as much as possible, based on construction activities. Visit our website at and take a tour of the design!

The public is encouraged to stop by the Montana Historical Society at 225 N Roberts in Helena from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 406.444.2694.

Outdoor Rec

Montana Access Project Path Ahead Webinar Series:

March 9, 2021 (11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.)Measuring the Economic Impact of Frontcountry Recreation in Rural Communities—In this webinar, panelists will discuss Headwaters Economics’ recent research and case study Whitefish Legacy Partners/ Whitefish Trail. Key takeaways from this webinar include:

  • How to better manage, plan, and fund outdoor recreation, we need to measure it more accurately. Without good data, it’s difficult to make a case for investments in outdoor recreation.
  • New methods to count recreation will give communities and agencies the ability to measure the impact of recreation and advocate for resources.

For more information or to register for this webinar, click here

Proposal Aims to Make Lincoln a Recreation Destination

If a group of community leaders are successful, Lincoln will become known as a recreation destination than just a place for fuel and a quick bite to eat. There's hope the plan they're working on will give the town a more certain economic future, by having plans for thousands of acres of public lands around the town.

Lincoln is already a landmark for travelers on Montana Highway 200 as it's one of the few places for "gas and grub" between Missoula and Great Falls. But for some Montanans, it's also a launching point for all kinds of recreation.

Because people that recreate in your town are going to maybe stop and grab lunch,” said Karyn Good with the Upper Blackfoot Council. “Or maybe stay for the weekend in a hotel or even just grab a coffee on their way back to the Missoula.” 

Every weekend in the summertime, Great Falls, Helena, Missoula, Kalispell, they flock here on the weekend,” longtime Lincoln resident Bill Cyr. “They come here to camp, to go fishing, to go 4 wheeling, to ride their motorcycles or to hike. That's really where our economy is driven from.”

The Lincoln Prosperity Project, hammered out over five years of discussions between diverse groups ranging from snowmobilers to the Montana Wilderness Association, presents a road map for managing 200,000 acres of public lands in the Upper Blackfoot Valley. Read more from KPAX here

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

MissoulaMissoula Airport Gets $3.39M in Federal Funding for New Terminal—The Missoula International Airport will be getting a big chunk of federal money to help build a new $67 million terminal building. The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced that the airport will be getting a total of $3,390,850 through a Federal Aviation Administration grant. 

Airport director Cris Jensen said about $97,000 will go to help airport concessionaires such as restaurants and car rental companies get through the pandemic. The rest will go to help build the new terminal building, which is under construction and expected to be open by early 2022. For example, some of the money may be spent on the new parking lot and other infrastructure. Read more from the Missoulian here

COVID-19 Research

Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus—Week of February 28 from Destination Analysts

Americans’ positivity towards travel reached more pandemic-era peaks as travel plans for even the next few months slowly but surely grow. In a sign of confidence about travel’s safety, Americans traveling for Spring Break look to be prioritizing new destinations for these trips. Most Americans, however, believe mask-wearing will be with us for several months.

Key Findings to Know: 

  • It appears Americans believe that the light at the end of the tunnel is getting close. COVID-19 anxiety is at a low. Meanwhile, optimism about the course the coronavirus situation will take in the next month reached another record high, with 49.1% feeling things will get better.

  • Americans are feeling safer both at home and with travel. The average rating of the more than two dozen travel activities we track as unsafe reached another pandemic record low, at 43.2% unsafe. Although a majority still feel unsafe with international travel and conventions/large group meetings, the proportions avoiding conventions (58.5%) and international travel (67.1%) are at record lows.

  • Nearly two-thirds feel at least somewhat confident they can travel safely right now, and travel guilt fell to 39.9%.

  • Americans remain highly open to travel inspiration, and another pandemic record 63.9% are in a travel readiness state-of-mind.

  • 63.3% of American travelers have themselves or know someone who has already received a vaccine. In fact, over one-third of Baby Boomer travels report they have already received their COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Now, a record 36.9% of American travelers—including 41.6% of Millennial age travelers—have made travel plans specifically in anticipation of more widespread vaccination.

  • Trips and travel plans keep growing. Over 60% of American travelers did some kind of travel dreaming and/or planning in the last week alone, including 15.1% who made travel reservations. A growing percentage of American travelers say they will be taking at least one leisure trip in the next three months—now at 54.6%. More than 84% already have tentative trip plans for the remainder of 2021, with June through October the peak months for trips.

  • Lodging preferences for travel over the next three months appear to have shifted from the early pandemic period. When asked to imagine that they were traveling at some point in the next few months and if they would generally prefer to stay in a hotel or a home rental through a service like Airbnb, 48.1% had stronger preference for hotel—up from 41.3% in March 2020—while 19.8% showed a strong preference for home rental—down from 30.3% last March.

  • This week, 12.4% of American travelers said they have a Spring Break trip planned. Interestingly, over two-thirds of these travelers say it’s important to them that they experience a new destination for this trip. Half of these Spring Break period travelers plan to use an airplane for their trip and head more than 500 miles away from home. Beach destinations are, of course, popular, as are National Parks and rural areas. Luxury hotels appear to be the most common lodging option for these Spring Break travelers.

  • Looking towards the conclusion of the COVID-19 pandemic, 71.3% of American travelers will continue to wear masks even after they are fully vaccinated. When asked to imagine how they would feel on their first post-vaccine trip if the place/destination/attraction they were visiting still required masking, 65.0% said they would feel “fine,” if not “great.”

Read more from the Destination Analysts report here

Montana Aware

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

Other News

Tripadvisor Launches Live Sentiment Dashboard to Support Global Tourism Recovery

Tripadvisor, the world's largest travel guidance platform, announced the arrival of a live data intelligence dashboard available to destination marketing organizations (DMOs), powered by Tourism Sentiment Index. This offering is part of Tripadvisor's wider suite of data intelligence products for DMOs, known as the Tripadvisor Insights Platform. The live dashboard provides clients with essential word-of-mouth insights about destinations, combining Tripadvisor's unmatched reach and traveler behavior insights with Tourism Sentiment Index's industry leading sentiment technology.

The Tripadvisor Insights Platform is a collection of measurement and insights tools intended to help partners in the travel and tourism industry manage their media campaigns and overall recovery activities. The solutions use Tripadvisor's wealth of user behavior data to measure performance, uncover competitive insights and track how destinations, accommodations, attractions and restaurants are performing over time. Read more from Tripadvisor here


On October 1, 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will officially begin enforcing the REAL ID Act of 2005 at airports. This will require all Americans to present REAL ID-compliant identification to go through security. For specific information on Real ID in Montana, click here

Other Dates/Events to Note

American Trails Presents Advancing Trails Webinar Series

American Trails brings agencies, trailbuilders, advocates, and volunteers the latest in state-of-the-art information on all aspects of trails and greenways. Our webinars focus on a variety of trail topics, usually applicable to all trail types, with expert presenters. Webinar topics are chosen from current cutting-edge trail topics selected from attendee/presenter suggestions as well as recent popular conference sessions. For more information, visit or click on individual webinar links below. 

Upcoming webinars:

May 12, 2021 (9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.)Free International Roundup Supplier SeminarHosted by the Great American West (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, North Dakota & South Dakota) & Rocky Mountain International, join us for this 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