Friday Flash 6/18/21

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Reminders/Updates for our Tourism Partners

Thank you to all that attended the TAC meeting this week in Helena or via Zoom. We value our partners and it was great to see all the great work you are doing for tourism in Montana. We will have the recording of the meeting and presentations available soon!

Save the Dates...

  • July 20, 2021—Region/CVB 4th Quarter Financial Reports Due 
  • October 4-5, 2021—TAC Meeting (Location TBD)
  • 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. 
    • July 28, 2021
    • September 22, 2021
    • November 24, 2021

Recreate Responsibly

Rec Responsibly

Recreate Responsibly Toolkit and Resources

The Montana Office of Tourism is committed to keeping Montana’s outdoor spaces, communities, residents, and visitors safe. Please join us communicating these guidelines for responsible recreation to visitors traveling throughout Montana.

As part of this initiative, the Montana Office of Tourism has developed a toolkit of resources to help you educate residents and visitors on safe travel best practices. To learn more or download the toolkit, click here

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 

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

Now Seeking Nominations for 2021 Retailer of the Year!
This award recognizes a Made in Montana retailer who makes an outstanding effort to represent the Made in Montana brand, supports Montana producers, and is committed to promoting the sale of Made in Montana goods to residents and visitors alike. 

If you know of a retailer that fits the description, this is your chance to nominate them to be honored as the 2021 Made in Montana Retailer of the Year.

Outdoor Recreation

FWP Seeks Public Comment on Off-Highway Vehicle and Summer Motorized Trail Pass Grant Program Proposed Awards

Staff at Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public comment on proposed awards for the Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Grant Program’s and Summer Motorized Trail Pass (SMTP) Grant Program’s 2021 application cycles. Public comment on the programs’ proposed awards is open through Wednesday, July 14, at 5 p.m.

Montana’s OHV Program provides grant funding for OHV safety, ethics and education, resource maintenance, protection and improvement projects. The grant funding is administered by FWP and allocated with review based on individual application scores and recommendations from the citizen-based Off-Highway Vehicle Advisory Committee (OHVAC).

The new SMTP Grant Program provides grant funding to OHV clubs and organizations for resource maintenance, protection, signage and the improvement of federally designated motorized trails and riding areas in Montana. Funding for the grant program comes from revenues from the sale of the OHV Resident Trail Pass. The grant funding is administered by FWP and allocated with review based on individual application scores and recommendations from the OHVAC.

This application cycle, approximately $525,000 in grant funding was available for award. FWP proposes to award 13 funding requests totaling $201,888 through the OHV Grant Program and five funding requests totaling $316,199.00 through the SMTP Grant Program.

A complete list of the proposed OHV Grant Program awards is available online here. Click on the “2021 Grant Application Cycle” tab. Comments must be received by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 14, 2021. To comment, email and include “OHV” in the email subject line.

A complete list of the recommended SMTP grant awards is available online here. Click on the “Application Grant Overview, Guidelines and Scoring Criteria” tab. Comments must be received by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 14, 2021. To comment, email and include “SMTP” in the email subject line.

For more information, contact FWP Outdoor Recreation Program Manager, Michelle McNamee.

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

Kalispell11 Fantastic Things To Do In Vibrant Kalispell, Montana—On the north bank of Flathead Lake, nestled between two national forests and located in the shadow of Glacier National Park, Kalispell is a gorgeous city in the Flathead Valley. While it’s a beautiful destination year-round, my favorite time to visit Kalispell is in the late spring and early summer. In these seasons, typically the wettest months of the year, you’ll see acres of bright yellow canola flowers and calves sticking close to their moms grazing in the lush fields.

About a 40-minute drive from West Glacier, this city of 23,000 residents offers a variety of accommodations, restaurants, and things to do for non-campers who want a more modern home base when visiting Glacier National Park. And I swear you can see Canada on a clear day! Read more from Travel Awaits here

YellowstoneYellowstone National Park Sets Tourism Record for May—Yellowstone National Park had its busiest May as tourism continued to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic. The park had over 483,000 recreation visits last month, up 11% from May 2019, park officials said Friday.

So far, Yellowstone is having its busiest year in recent memory. The park recorded over 658,000 visits from January through May, the most since 594,000 visits during that time in 2016. Read more from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle here


New Reports from ITRR

2020 Nonresident Visitation, Spending, and Economic Impact Estimates—This report highlights estimates of the number of nonresident travelers to the state during 2020, as well as estimates of travel-related spending and associated economic impact to Montana’s economy. Read the full report here

Social Media and Its Impact on Travelers to Montana—News, real or not, travels faster than ever with the rise of social media platforms. Nearly everyone, everywhere, is capable of generating and disseminating information to large volumes of potential consumers. This information is often out of the direct control of the destination, business, or other entity for whom the news relates; it is unowned media.

When a destination receives a flurry of attention from these various sources, either good or bad, several important questions arise in attempting to understand their impacts: (1) how long do these impressions last in potential visitor’s minds? And, (2) do these events/images influence travel planning?

The overall purpose of this study is to build a better understanding of the degree to which unowned media, particularly social media, influences traveler behavior and perceptions of Montana, whether positive or negative. A secondary purpose is to provide specificity to the level and type of social media use that some visitors to Montana engage in (i.e., what platforms are they on, how does this vary by age, how often do they use specific platforms, etc.). Read the full report here

Destination Analysts Update on American Travel Trends & Sentiment—Week of June 14

While some Americans plan to leave their current romantic partner, the more common lifestyle changes they anticipate post-pandemic include finding a healthier work/life balance, traveling more and also being more mindful of travel sustainability. 43% of travelers are now saying they are ready to move on from the pandemic and it appears that this health crisis has also opened Americans’ minds up to the idea of traveling more domestically.

Key Findings to Know: 

  • Many Americans are ready to move on from the pandemic: This week, 43.5% of travelers agree that they personally feel the pandemic is effectively over and they are ready to move on (up from 40.6%). This rising feeling also coincides with an increase in both openness to travel inspiration (69.4% up from 67.4%) and excitement to travel in the near term (73.7% up from 71.9%). Additionally, those who do not feel confident they can travel safely in the current environment is at a record low (15.7%).
  • American lifestyle changes are coming: Nearly three-in-ten Americans expect to change their lifestyles post-pandemic. Most commonly, those expecting to make changes feel it is most important for them to find a healthier work/life balance, spend more time with family, be more mindful of their self-care and spend more time with friends. Although less common, some are also looking to get rid of their current romantic partner. In addition, nearly a quarter plan to make changes to the way they travel. Most notably, those anticipating travel habit changes plan to travel more, focus more on outdoor experiences and also be more mindful of travel sustainability.
  • Expectations for vaccinations inch up: Expectations for adult American travelers to take a vaccine (or have already taken a vaccine) inched closer to the 75% mark. This week 73.9% say they will or have been vaccinated (up from 72.9%). Similarly, parents of school-aged children are increasingly expecting to have their children (or already had their children) take a vaccine—a pandemic-record high of 61.7% up from 59.7% last week.
  • Interest in domestic trips increases: In fact, 70.9% of travelers who were more internationally oriented (e.g. were more interested in traveling outside the U.S. than traveling domestically pre-pandemic) said the pandemic has opened their minds to traveling more within the U.S.
  • Bookings for lodging accommodations are on the rise: 18.2% of Americans made travel reservations in the last week. Of these travel bookers, the most common reservation made was for a hotel room (52.7% up from 47.4%). In addition, nearly one-in-five also booked a home-sharing service such as Airbnb or VRBO this week (17.7% up from 13.3%).
  • Relaxation, scenic beauty and new experiences are what Americans most want to get out of their travels in the upcoming year: Secondarily, Americans will also seek out escapism, food experiences and adventure. Affordability will also be of high importance. In fact, it was among the top three destination attributes they consider very important or essential in regard to the destinations they plan to visit in the next year—after fun and relaxing.

Read more from the Destination Analysts report here

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 29-30, 2021MEDA Summer Conference—It is time to identify priorities and build strategies based on the Montana Next Generation of Community and Economic Development Tools study. MEDA and the NextGen Stakeholder Group are providing a facilitator so that on June 29th and 30th, we can identify priorities and strategize. A packet of “homework” will be sent prior to the conference so that you can be prepared. YOU, whether via Zoom or in person, are needed at the table. It’s time. For more information or to register, click here

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