Friday Flash 4/23/21

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Mt Helena

Reminders/Updates for our Tourism Partners

Save the Dates...

  • May 4, 2021—Region/CVB FY22 Marketing Plans due to MOTBD in WebGrants
  • June 14-15, 2021—TAC Meeting 
  • July 20, 2021—Region/CVB 4th Quarter Financial Reports Due 
  • October 4, 2021—TAC Meeting
  • 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 Barb Sanem or call her at 406.841.2769. 
    • May 26, 2021
    • July 28, 2021
    • September 22, 2021
    • November 24, 2021


Check out the Updated MARKETMT.COM!

We’re thrilled to announce that the Department of Commerce has launched an updated MARKETMT.COM website under a new web system. Thank you to all who worked hard to make this change!

Please take a moment to go through the new MARKETMT.COM site and look for any bookmarks or broken links to any of the pages on the site, and update your own sites for any broken links.

And, if you haven’t already, take a look at the new SBDC.MT.GOV, CEIC.MT.GOV, MADEINMONTANAUSA.COM, REEDERSALLEY.COM and VIRGINIACITYMT.COM.

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 soon. We encourage you to subscribe for updates from the Department of Commerce for other funding opportunities and news by clicking here.

Governor's Conference on Tourism & Recreation

Rims in Billings

Governor’s Conference on Tourism & Recreation—April 17-19, 2022 in Billings

The annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism & Recreation has been moved to April 17-19, 2022 in Billings. We are eager to gather in-person next April to bring together tourism and recreation leaders from every corner of the state.

The Governor’s Conference will continue to elevate the industry by inspiring innovation, educating through on-the-ground insights, connecting tourism and recreation partners and businesses, and drawing inspiration from nationally renowned speakers. We are working closely with our Billings partners to offer some unique local experiences. Stay tuned for more information on conference content and registration. 

Made in Montana

Shop Local

We encourage you to support your local businesses when possible. The Made in Montana online directory is a great place to find Made in Montana items and support local businesses. 

Eat Local

Now more than ever, the "eat local" movement is gaining interest. People want to know where their food is coming from. Our Taste our Place program aims to promote and increase the use of locally sourced ingredients at Montana restaurants, bars and other establishments serving food and beverages. Check out this list of Taste our Place members and savor the Montana flavor when dining out.   

MIM Members in the News

Ranch House Meat and Sausage Co. Announces Getting Federal Inspection—Ranch House Meat Co. and Sausage Co. are now producing their smoked and fresh meat products under federal inspection. “USDA inspection gives our customers around the state of Montana and beyond greater access to our Montana-made products,” said Shane Flowers, owner, Ranch House Meat Co. and Sausage Co. “We expect to see tremendous growth in our bacon and snack stick lines especially, but certainly across all of our product lines.

"With the Federal Label on our smoked products from the Shepherd production facility now available along with the cubed steaks, the Custer Steak Strips, and locally raised beef that are already federally Inspected from Pure Montana Meats in Miles City, we have a wide range of products to offer to grocery chains, food service distributors and c-stores, as well as hardware and sporting goods chains. As we continue to grow, we will be adding valuable, good paying jobs to the economies of multiple Montana cities and the state itself.” Read more from the Billings Gazette here.

2021 Made in Montana Tradeshow 

The Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts is rescheduled for September 10-11, 2021 (TENTATIVE) in Helena at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds.

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.


National Travel & Tourism Week

National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) is right around the corner! This year, NTTW has chosen the theme of, Power of Travel, and will recognize the industry's role in bringing back vibrance to the communities, restoring the U.S. economy, rebuilding the workforce and reconnecting America. Click here for NTTW's full toolkit.

Visit Montana will participate in NTTW's celebration this year by focusing on different sectors of the tourism industry and highlighting them on Visit Montana's different social channels. We wanted to share with you our schedule of topics in case you would be interested in following a similar schedule on your channels.

Below is a look at the schedule for the week:

  • Sunday, May 2: Introduce NTTW
    • Start the week by introducing NTTW and facts about the tourism and travel industry. Give a glimpse into what will be shared throughout the week. Share tourism facts and offer insight into the importance of travel and tourism for Montana.
  • Monday, May 3: Accommodations
    • Montana offers up some of the best lodging experiences in the West. Lodging and accommodations are diverse in the state, ranging from five-star luxury guest ranches, cozy cabins, lodges, charming bed-and-breakfasts, hotels and more, there is something for everyone.
  • Tuesday, May 4: National Parks
    • Highlight that Montana is anchored by two National Parks. Focusing on the spaces between the places.
  • Wednesday, May 5: Dining, Spirits + Brews
    • Visit Montana will feature the exquisite dining, vast brewery options and delicious spirits that capture the flavors of Montana. The Taste Our Place program will also be showcased throughout the social channels.
  • Thursday, May 6: Outdoor Recreation
    • Now more than ever, there is a desire for recreating outdoors. This day will highlight our state parks, rivers, hiking, biking and more. While showing the endless options for outdoor recreation, we will also promote the importance of recreating responsibly.
  • Friday, May 7: Museums + Attractions
    • Full of history and epic experiences, Montana's museums and historic sites offer a look into Montana's past. Our social channels will highlight information on the Montana Dino Trail.
  • Saturday, May 8: Made in Montana
    • Feature local vendors and businesses that highlight Montana's beauty and uniqueness in the products that they create. This will also promote awareness for the Grown in Montana and Native American Made in Montana programs.

International Marketing

Registration Now Open for International Roundup Supplier Seminar!

Montana, along with its Great American West partners Wyoming, Idaho, North Dakota and South Dakota, and Rocky Mountain International, is hosting a FREE virtual International Roundup Supplier Seminar on May 12, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

Hear from tour operators in five international markets and from overseas representatives about the outlook for international travel recovery. Learn what's been happening overseas and about our region's recovery efforts. Click here to learn more about the speakers.

To register, click here.  If you have questions, please contact Kim Birrell.

Tribal Tourism News

Tribal Tourism Digital Business Development Grant Application Deadline Approaching!

The deadline to apply for a Tribal Tourism Digital Business Development Grant is fast approaching, with only one week remaining until it closes April 30

This is a pilot grant program to help tourism-related entrepreneurs with digital assets to reach potential customers and convert them into sales. Eligible project categories include professional content development, website development, and virtual experiences. The maximum award is up to $6,250 per applicant.

Although tourism-related businesses may be funded through the Indian Equity Fund too, this is the first grant program from the Office of Indian Country Economic Development (OICED) specifically designed for them. It’s an opportunity you won’t want to miss. For more information or to apply for this grant, click here

Heritage/Cultural News


Montana Dino Trail

Hot off of uploading is the April 2021 Edition of Treasure State Lifestyles Magazine featuring the Montana Dinosaur Trail. This is the e-edition.

Treasure State Lifestyles will also have print versions for distribution around the state. Each of the trail facilities, tourism regions, Montana Office of Tourism & Business Development and Montana BLM will receive 25 printed copies for use in helping spread the word about the trail.

In addition to the features on each of the trail facilities, there's some other fun Montana dinosaur stories shared and a highlight on paleo artist Jenn Hall who created the poster images for each facility. 


Montana Heritage Center

Construction of the Montana Heritage Center in Helena continued this week with installation of utilities along Ninth Avenue, on the north edge of the site, and removal of some light poles. 

Additional construction efforts are a little more subtle but will build toward the end of May and into June, when crews will start work on the foundation! Heavy equipment will come to the property via Ninth Avenue as much as possible to keep their traffic out of the neighborhood.

Crews will do some excavating, then drill holes to pack with gravel as part of the “engineered aggregate piers.” This will cause some vibrations and noise. The Montana Historical Society will keep people apprised as we get closer to that work ramping up.

As always, thank you for your patience as we take the next steps toward building the fabulous Montana Heritage Center. This facility is your facility, which will showcase Montana’s past, share its stories, and provide meaning for today with a vision for tomorrow.

Outdoor Recreation

Going-to-the-Sun Road Ticketed Entry

Glacier National Park is instituting an online reservation system (ticketed entry) for the Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor between the park’s West and St. Mary Entrances from May 28 to September 6, 2021. Reservations for tickets will begin on Thursday, April 29, 2021. 

Entering the Going-to-the-Sun Road at either West Glacier or St. Mary, or via the Camas Road, will require two things...a Park Pass plus a $2.00 Entry Reservation Ticket or a reservation for a service along the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Qualifying Passes include:

Glacier National Park Passes

Private Vehicle 7-day permit - $35
Motorcycle 7-day permit - $30
Glacier National Park Annual Pass - $70
America the Beautiful Passes

Annual - $80
Every Kid in a Park Annual 4th Grade Pass – Free to 4th Graders
Annual Pass for Military - Free
Annual or Lifetime Senior Pass - $20 or $80
Access Pass – Free
Volunteer Pass - Free
Lifetime Golden Age Passes are also honored.

In addition to the passes listed above, entry to the Going-to-the-Sun Road at West Glacier or St. Mary, or via the Camas Road, will require a $2.00 Entry Reservation Ticket or a Service Reservation. For more information, click here.

GNP Ticketing System

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

AnacondaAnaconda Expects Tourism Boom with 2 New Attractions—Warmer temperatures combined with outdoor activities make the perfect combination for any tourist destination. "You're 20 minutes from any kind of recreation -- be it skiing, fishing, hiking, biking," said Adam Vauthier, executive director for Anaconda Local Development Corporation. "You can do it all right from your back door. It's pretty amazing."

Anaconda Chief Executive Officer Bill Everett explained how a deal with Atlantic Richfield toward the end of their 30-year Superfund cleanup continues to help them move forward with economic development. Outdoor recreation has been thriving since the pandemic, due to social distancing. Now Anaconda officials are working to use their business incentives to create an outdoor recreation destination. Read more from NBC Montana here

ButteNew Tram Expected to Extend Tourism Season in Butte—An old monument in Butte is looking forward to a new future, thanks to approval from federal and state agencies. The conversation around a tram for the Our Lady of the Rockies statue has been around for decades.

"They asked me to join the board back in the early '90s because they were talking about a tram," said Our Lady of the Rockies board member Bob Leipheimer. "Finally, we got this thing approved last week. This is a big hurdle." 

At 90-feet tall, Our Lady of the Rockies stands on top of the Continental Divide as the fourth largest statue in the United States. For Butte, it's also one of the largest tourist attractions in the area. “It's really going to put Butte on the map, and with the tram crossing the interstate there, it's going to be good exposure," said Leipheimer. "It'll keep people maybe staying another night or two in Butte.” Read more from NBC Montana here

KalispellFrontier Airlines Expands Service To Durango, Grand Junction, Kalispell And Anchorage—Frontier Airlines is expanding its service in and out of Colorado. The airline will offer nonstop flights from Denver to both Grand Junction and Durango. In addition to the added stops in Colorado, Frontier is expanding its service outside of the state, to include routes from Denver to Kalispell, Montana, and Anchorage, Alaska, along with nonstop service between Durango and Las Vegas.

“The addition of three new Colorado-based routes to Nevada, Alaska, and Montana will also serve as a fantastic opportunity for both Coloradans to get out and explore and for tourists to come and enjoy the beautiful Rocky Mountains.” Read more from CBS Denver here

COVID-19 Research

Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus—Week of April 19 from Destination Analysts

Many Americans are still in pandemic mode when it comes to booking travel, expecting shorter booking windows, often less than 4 weeks out. This week we can celebrate that the appeal of attending in-person meetings has improved, although the majority of business travelers still needs at least a few more months before they are ready to be back.

Key Findings to Know: 

  • Americans have been exhibiting a lessening optimism over the last month, after reaching a pandemic peak the week of March 14th.

  • Nevertheless, fear about travel has continued on a course of steady decline. Of the travel and leisure activities we track, only a handful remain perceived as unsafe by a majority of American travelers. In fact, the average perception of these activities as unsafe is down 20 percentage points from January 1st—a pandemic record low (37.9%).

  • More than two-thirds have a “ready-to-travel” state-of-mind and this readiness has resulted in a lot of travel plans. Over 86% of American travelers currently have at least tentative leisure travel plans and 72.8% expect to travel for leisure within the next three months alone.

  • In terms of what is motivating Americans to travel right now, while relaxing, getting away from their daily life and spending time with family remain important, about half are highly seeking escaping boredom, having new experiences and visiting new places they have never been. One-third are out to party while a quarter are even traveling specifically to meet new people.

  • As Americans look out on their travel in the months ahead, many iconic tourism spots—Florida, New York, Las Vegas, Hawaii, California—top their lists of the domestic destinations they most want to visit, including popular cities, from Chicago to New Orleans.

  • In terms of Americans’ timing on booking travel, the pandemic’s impact can still be seen. In total, 45.7% say they will make reservations closer to their travel date than they would in a normal year. Over 40% of travelers who will be making hotel, car rental, attraction and event bookings say they will be doing so less than 4 weeks out. Even 28.5% of upcoming air travelers say they will purchase their flights less than a month before travel.

  • Looking at the types of travel Americans have planned for the next quarter, leisure travel is indeed leading the recovery with 52.4% planning a vacation or getaway and 36.8% traveling to visit friends or relatives. Business travel is further back in recovery. Right now, 13.6% of American travelers say they will be taking a business trip in the next 3 months and 11.4% say they have a convention/group meeting trip.

  • This week we can celebrate that the appeal of attending in-person meetings has improved. Over 54% of business travelers say they would be happy if their employer asked them to attend an in-person conference, convention or group meeting in the next six months. This is nearly double what was recorded last August.

  • Still, a meetings industry rebound may be further into the future. Two-thirds of business travelers feel it won’t be until this summer or later that they will be comfortable attending in-person meetings. The majority (56.4%) of business travelers still would prefer a virtual meeting to an in-person one if it were happening this month. Only 20 percent say they would prefer an in-person event right now.

Read more from the Destination Analysts report here

Montana Aware

Montana Aware Badge

Montana Aware Toolkit & Resources

Toolkit components with Explore Responsibly messaging are now available to download. These messages focus on a variety of ways to promote responsible travel, from planning ahead to protecting the outdoors.

Tourism partners and businesses can access the downloadable toolkit and other information at MARKETMT.COM/Programs/Industry-Services-and-Outreach/Montana-Aware-Toolkit.

Other News

MSU Extension Offers Certification Program to Boost Remote Work in Rural Areas

Montana State University Extension will soon offer a program to help rural Montana residents gain skills needed to work from home as a remote employee, freelancer or entrepreneur.

“This educational program will help people living in rural communities gain the skills needed to access high-paying jobs and larger markets for their business while remaining in their rural communities,” said Cody Stone, MSU Extension executive director. “This program has the potential to strengthen the economic well-being of individuals, families and communities, which is central to the mission of MSU Extension.”

The month-long course, called the Master Remote Work Professional Certification program, consists of nine core modules, which are delivered in a self-paced, online format, along with four discussion-based virtual workshops. The course was developed by Utah State University Extension and is offered in Montana through a partnership with MSU Extension. Read more from Montana State University here

Other Dates/Events to Note

International Wildlife Film FestivalApril 17May 15, 2021The International Wildlife Film Festival is expanding its habitat this year, with movies streaming online and at outdoor screens around town for a full month.

The 44th annual festival will present 65 films from around the world that cover animals near (grizzly bears in Yellowstone) to far (Australian wildlife in the aftermath of the fires) and subjects such as viral spread from animals to humans, or the sustainability programs we aren’t taking full advantage of. For more information about this year's event, visit

Visit Southeast Montana Tourism Marketing Workshop SeriesVisit Southeast Montana is offering a FREE tourism marketing workshops to you, our tourism partners! 

The final workshop will run from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 29 via Zoom. Click on the link below to register.

  • How Do We Market the Visit Southeast Montana Region—Tune in for a peek of the current Out Here marketing and advertising campaign - this is a campaign that you wouldn't normally see as it is targeted outside of the region. We'll also allow time for Q&A of any sort, along with suggestions for future sessions. 

Questions? Contact Megan Hoffman at

National Park Week – April 17-25, 2021An annual weeklong celebration of America’s national parks, National Park Week encourages the public to explore the vast network of our national parks, sacred sites, and historical landmarks, as well as our shared heritage contained within them.

The public is asked to recreate responsibly when visiting parks, including following rules requiring masks when physical distancing cannot be maintained, or to explore parks virtually through a variety of engaging online activities. Visit or for more virtual programming.

The 2021 National Park Week theme days are:

  • Friday, April 23: Friendship Friday
  • Saturday, April 24: Junior Ranger Day
  • Sunday, April 25: BARK Ranger Day

For more information or to read the full press release, click here

American Trails Presents Advancing Trails Webinar SeriesAmerican 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: