Friday Flash 5/14/21

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Reminders/Updates for our Tourism Partners

Save the Dates...

  • 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

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.   

2021 Made in Montana Tradeshow Exhibitor Registration Opens Soon! 

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.

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

BannackVolunteers Help Preserve Montana Ghost Town—A group of traveling volunteers helped Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks complete a major revitalization project at Bannack State Park outside of Dillon.

A Year to Volunteer brings traveling recreationists together to make a difference in the communities they visit. It brought 23 volunteers to reconstruct a portion of the boardwalk, replace flooring and deep clean 35 historic buildings that are part of Montana’s best-preserved ghost towns. Volunteers donated more than 1,000 hours over nine days working in the park.

"One of my favorite things,” A Year to Volunteer co-founder Shar Ross said, “is that we're going to be removing some graffiti. It's just so infuriating that people destroy property like that. So we’re going to get some of that cleaned up so hopefully people don't redo it." Read more from NBC Montana here

Glacier Country TourismGlacier Country Tourism Sees Busy Summer Ahead, Adjusts Marketing—A year after the COVID-19 pandemic created panic for Montana's tourism industry, there's anticipation for what could be a record-breaking season.

While Americans' desire to get outdoors and erasing long lockdown memories could make for a busy summer, visitors are also being asked to recreate responsibly in Big Sky Country. A year ago, Montana's multi-billion dollar tourism industry was on the rocks. It didn't last.

“Starting in June, we really started to see strong recovery in terms of visitation for the leisure visitor and that has only continued to grow and prosper," said Glacier Country Tourism President and CEO Racene Friede. "In fact, I was just looking the other day and travel spending right now is only down about 6% compared to 2019 in Montana in February was down 19%, so we are still making a very strong recovery very quickly.” Read more from KPAX here

KalispellLet Us Embrace the Power of Travel—Recently, Discover Kalispell joined tourism colleagues from across the country to celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), with this year’s theme being The Power of Travel. Here in Kalispell and Northwest Montana, the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry play a key role in who we are as a destination and community. And while Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake and Jewel Basin are in our backyard, they attract visitors from around the world to our beautiful corner of Montana.

While 2019 was a strong year for travel, many local businesses faced uncertainty as they missed months of necessary income in 2020. As we head into the summer and as more Americans feel comfortable hitting the road, let us remember the important role tourism plays in our community and state. In 2020, total travel-supported jobs accounted for 65% of all U.S. jobs lost during the pandemic. Closer to home, during 2019 in Flathead County alone, nonresident travelers spent $613.5 million, while their expenditures supported 9,870 jobs that paid $275,131,000 in employee compensation. Read more from the Flathead Beacon here

MontanaLabor Shortages and Tourism Boom Could Overwhelm Montana’s Hospitality Industry—America’s employers added just 266,000 jobs last month. That’s sharply lower than in March and a sign that some businesses are struggling to find enough workers as the economic recovery strengthens. It’s a problem for Montana’s hospitality industry, which expects tourists to return in droves this summer.

Powered by consumer spending and government aid, the U.S economy is surging out of the pandemic recession that cost tens of millions of Americans their jobs and businesses last year.

Experts say vaccinations, combined with growing consumer confidence and a pent-up demand for travel is fueling expectations for a blockbuster domestic summer tourism season. Read more from MTPR here

WhitefishWhitefish Sustainable Tourism Campaign Gains National Partners—The Whitefish Convention and Visitors Bureau formally announced its partnership with two organizations -- Recreate Responsibly and Pledge for the Wild -- for their sustainable tourism campaign. “Be a Friend of The Fish.”

The campaign was introduced to visitors and locals in December 2020 to promote COVID-19 safety guidelines. However, the campaign is expanding while still holding onto its original goal.

Officials said the campaign is now focusing on destination stewardship and responsible recreation. The campaign encourages outdoor enthusiasts to plan ahead, follow the rules and adventure safely.

Officials said the alliances with Recreate Responsibly and Pledge for the Wild will bolster the community’s commitment to educating visitors about responsible recreation and proper stewardship of public lands in and around Whitefish.

The mission of Recreate Responsibly is to protect yourself, others and the outdoors.
“We and our statewide partners are integrating messaging from the Recreate Responsibly campaign into the way we communicate with visitors and locals alike,” reports Dylan Boyle, executive director of Explore Whitefish. “Promoting concepts like Know Before You Go, Leave No Trace, and Plan Ahead will be key to having a successful summer.” Read more from NBC Montana here

COVID-19 Research

Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus—Week of May 10 from Destination Analysts

Despite the excitement driving the return to normalcy, travel marketers would be wise to factor in the more lasting effects of the pandemic on travelers’ attitudes, and thus consequent behaviors. Many travelers report that the pandemic has changed them, leaving them more budget and safety conscious, and generally more on their guard. Even with the growing selection of cities as trip destinations, travelers report they are more into the outdoors than ever.

Key Findings to Know: 

  • Vaccination continues: 57% of American travelers are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and a record 72.1% say they have or intend to be vaccinated. With the approval of vaccines for ages 12-15 announced last week, over half will have their children take a vaccine (53.5%, up 4 percentage points from last week).

  • Coronavirus anxiety—both from the health and financial perspectives—remains lower than any other period during the pandemic. In fact, the proportion of Americans now unconcerned reached record-highs. Meanwhile, pessimism about the pandemic’s course in the U.S. reached a record-low (10.9%).

  • The returning belief in travel’s safety remains strong. Three-quarters of American travelers have confidence they can travel safely right now, and a record-high 40.5% say they will NOT be avoiding any travel until the pandemic is over. Half of American travelers say they won’t feel guilty traveling right now, either.

  • Over 70% of American travelers are highly excited by the prospect of near-term travel and highly open to travel inspiration. More than three-quarters of American travelers say their state-of-mind around travel is “READY.” Nearly 35% of American travelers researched travel ideas online in the last week, a pandemic-record.

  • Over 90% of American travelers have trip plans right now, and plan to take 3.0 leisure trips this year, on average. More than 75% will take a trip within the next 3 months.

  • Consumer expectations about travel prices may have started to catch up with the reality of the demand. The proportion who believe travel prices will be low this summer declined, and is now outweighed by the proportion who feel this will not be the case.

  • Despite excitement for a return to normalcy, travel marketers would be wise to factor in the more lasting effects of the pandemic on travelers’ attitudes, and thus consequent behaviors. Many travelers report that the pandemic has changed them, leaving them more budget and safety conscious, and generally more on their guard. Compared to their pre-pandemic selves, three-quarters say they are now more safety conscious, 45 percent feel they are now more budget conscious, and fully 58% say they have an elevated concern that “something could go wrong” on their upcoming trips.

  • Travelers say the pandemic has changed them in other ways, including being much more interested now in outdoor activities and being close to nature. Careful trip planning will likely be more important to travelers in the post-pandemic world, with nearly 40% now more into this behavior. As was realized early on, the pandemic has most challenged growing customer bases for cruises, as well as amusement parks and cities. Of the activities we tested, traveler interest in cruising has taken a significant overall decline (33.9%). The results are less dramatic for amusement parks and cities, but overall about as many travelers say they have lost interest in these experiences as have gained interest in them as a result of the pandemic.

  • The pandemic has also disrupted trust in travel information, although fortunately American travelers are more likely to say the pandemic has left them more trusting in information sources available to them (38.1%) than less trusting (23.8%).

  • In good news for the meetings and convention industry, avoidance of these events reached a record-low (53.2%).

  • Local support of tourism keeps growing, as well. The proportion who don’t want travelers in their community remains under 40%. Anticipated happiness of seeing a travel ad about their community rose again, this time to 56.8%, the highest level recorded in the pandemic.

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.

Other Dates/Events to Note

May 19 & 20, 2021 (9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. both days)—Glacier Country Tourism Summit: Reach New Heights in Marketing Your Business (Virtual)—Glacier Country Tourism’s annual summit is virtual and free for ANYONE to attend. Attend the sessions of your choice or make time for the entire summit. Our tourism and marketing experts can help you develop tourism product, train your workforce, prepare for the upcoming tourism season, and market your business or organization to travelers. Learn more and register now by clicking 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:

June 30-July 1, 2021Western Governors' Association (WGA) Annual Meeting (Virtual)—The event hosted by WGA Chair, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, will highlight the Governors discussing their ongoing work to manage the impact of COVID-19 and insightful conversations about the most significant issues facing the region. The two-day meeting will feature the Governors in roundtables with special guests on topics such as emergency response, public lands challenges, shared stewardship, infrastructure and workforce. For more information or to register, click here