Friday Flash 5/21/21

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Crazy Mtns

Reminders/Updates for our Tourism Partners

Please note there will be no Friday Flash on May 28. 

Save the Dates...

  • June 14-15, 2021—TAC Meeting. Watch for details coming soon!
  • 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—(Please note: This meeting has been cancelled!)
    • 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.   

Taste our Place Member in the News

Homestyle Cooking Served With a Side of Small Town Hospitality—Diners are a respected icon of American culture. In Montana, almost every small town across the state lays claim to having one. Typically, you can count on delicious food with no mystery ingredients, served straight up without some fancy plating. When you’re seated at a diner, the likelihood of rubbing elbows with the locals is high. If you find yourself passing through the town of Harrison (population 103), you can’t miss the Town Haul Diner, with its bright yellow front and the word “Diner” spelled out in red.

A wave of nostalgia swept over me as I step inside the Town Haul Diner on my trip to Harrison. It was a combination of a lunch counter with five swivel stools and the colorful Formica tables, reminding me of my grandfather’s truck stop diner outside of Big Timber. In the small kitchen, owner Lori Edmundson is putting the final touches on a breakfast plate of ham and sunny side up eggs. She moves with ease and efficiency around her tiny kitchen while preparing the basics with a good amount of flavor. I’m talking cheeseburgers and fries, patty melts, homemade soups, and pies with crusts made from lard. She made time to sit and chat with me, and I took an instant liking to her. Read more from the Montana Standard here

2021 Made in Montana Tradeshow 

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

Montana Historic Preservation Grant Program

Commerce Awards More Than $5 Million of Historic Preservation Grants to 23 Montana Communities

The Montana Department of Commerce announced Thursday that 23 Montana communities will share more than $5 million of grant funding for 26 historic preservation projects. The grants, awarded through Commerce’s Montana Historic Preservation Grant Program, will be used to improve historical sites, historical societies and history museums in Montana.

“These grants will help communities share stories of the past, giving visitors and residents a true glimpse of Montana’s fascinating, deep-rooted history,” Commerce Director Scott Osterman said. “Projects like these can really help rejuvenate Montana communities with increased economic development, statewide tourism and job creation.”

Improvements to these historical sites, societies and museums may include infrastructure repair, building renovations, maintenance, remediating building code issues, security enhancements and fire protection.

To read full press release and see list of grantees, click here

Heritage/Cultural News

Artisans & Tourism

There are many different motivations for travelers when choosing their next vacation destination. Some travel for food, some culture or landscape and some for art. According to a study by Americans for the Arts, 35.3 million adults say that an art or cultural heritage-related event influenced their choice of destination, and the arts are the fourth largest driver of decision making when planning a trip. 

Read more on how you can make art an important component of your cultural tourism planning from AIANTA (American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association) here.

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

MontanaThe 10 Best, Safest US States for Summer Travel in 2021—In an article from Inside Hook, Montana comes in at number six as one of the safest US states for travel.

At some point this year — probably June or July, according to most state legislators — coronavirus restrictions will ease and we will all re-emerge, like bears from their slumber, into polite society. To help you readjust, we’ll be sharing some advice on grooming, fitness, getting dressed in something besides sweatpants (but also sweatpants), how to manage your stress and mental health, dating, concert and bar etiquette, and more.

Based on the uptick in travel bookings in correlation with vaccine distribution and overall optimism as we approach the summer months, it appears that we’ll soon be bravely entering a new “golden age of travel”. Read more from Inside Hook here

COVID-19 Research

Update on American Travel in the Period of Coronavirus—Week of May 17 from Destination Analysts

As COVID worries dip, concerns about gas, travel prices and the economy are on the rise. Meanwhile, this summer certainly won’t look like the last one, as Americans are planning a broader range of trip-experiences.

Key Findings to Know: 

  • COVID concerns keep dropping as 58% of American travelers are now fully vaccinated: American travelers’ personal health concern levels about COVID again dropped to an all-time low, with nearly a third now relatively unconcerned about contracting the virus. Americans’ expectation that the pandemic situation will improve in the U.S. in the next month reached a record 61.8%. Confidence in travel’s safety continued to increase, and now just 34.7% are engaging in travel avoidance until the situation is more resolved—down over 20 percentage points in 3 months.

  • Yet travel prices and other economic concerns are on the rise: Strong concerns about the national economy rose 3.5 percentage points in the last week to 76.9%. Americans’ belief that travel prices will be low this summer has declined (31.5%), while disagreement that they will get low prices for travel is on the rise (41.6%). Americans vacationing over the next 3 months anticipate they will spend $1,720 on travel during this period.

  • All eyes on gas prices: Our ongoing decades-long research on American travelers has always shown a correlation between gas prices and travel sentiment. Recent gasoline price inflation and shortages following the Colonial Pipeline cyber-attack have had a significant impact on the traveling community. Nearly one-third (30.9%) of travelers report being affected by the event. While the ultimate impact on the travel industry is unclear, many travelers (15.9%) say this volatility in the gasoline market has led them to reconsider or cancel upcoming travel plans.

  • The majority of American travelers remain ready-to-travel and marketable: Over 70% of American travelers say they are excited and open to new trips in the near-term, as well as highly desiring of travel inspiration. Our travel marketability predictive indices show that all segments have now reached the potentially marketable status. Search engines, email campaigns and social media remain the top channels that Americans say they would be most receptive to travel messaging in.

  • Americans continue to make trip plans: Over 72% report doing some travel planning or dreaming in the last week. The months of July (32.6%) and August (31.6%) continue to see growth in the proportion of Americans expecting to take leisure trips during then. September and October also look strong for travel, with a quarter of Americans reporting they plan to get away in each of those months.

  • This summer definitely won’t look like the last one, as Americans will engage in a wider range of trip-types: While 46.3% of American travelers say they’re planning low key close-to-home escapes, 40.7% also report that they will be taking longer, more involved trips to interesting locations this summer. And 1-in-10 report they will be taking a bucket list trip.

  • Support of local tourism reaches pandemic record levels: The proportion of American travelers that say they don’t want tourists in their own communities reached a record low 37.5%, while 53.3% say they would be happy to see an ad promoting tourism to their community.

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

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