Friday Flash 11/19/21

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Reminders/Updates for Our Tourism Partners

Please note there will be no Friday Flash on November 26.

Save the Dates...

  • Tourism Partner Call—This call is dedicated to the six tourism Regions, 16 CVBs, the TAC and specific industry stakeholders. Unless otherwise noted, the calls are held from 10:00-11:00 a.m. on the fourth Wednesday, every other month. For information regarding this call, please contact Barb Sanem
    • December 1, 2021
    • January 26, 2022
    • March 23, 2022
    • May 25, 2022
    • July 27, 2022
    • September 28, 2022
    • November 23, 2022
  • January 1, 2022Region/CVB FY21 Marketing Plan Completion Reports Due
  • January 20, 2022Region/CVB 2nd Quarter FY22 Financial Reports Due
  • February 7, 2022—TAC Meeting 
  • April 20, 2022—Region/CVB 3rd Quarter FY22 Financial Reports Due
  • June 14-15, 2022—TAC Meeting
  • July 20, 2022—Region/CVB 4th Quarter FY22 Financial Reports Due

Tourism Grant Program

2022 Tourism Grant Update

The FY22 Tourism Grant application submissions are currently being evaluated. We anticipate an announcement of the tourism grant awards for this cycle soon. We encourage you to subscribe to receive email updates from the Department of Commerce for other and future funding opportunities by clicking here. For more information about the Tourism Grant Program, please visit our website at MARKETMT.COM

Made in Montana

Naughty or Nice, A Montana Made Christmas is Santa Approved

The Holidays are just around the corner, and if you haven't started your Holiday Shopping, this year could be a challenge.

If you haven't watched the news or read any news articles online or on social media, there are thousands and thousands of cargo ships out in the ocean filled with merchandise and they're just sitting there...on a the ocean.

That got me thinking, instead of doing the whole "Box Store Christmas", or "Amazon Prime Christmas", why not do a "Montana Made Christmas"?

Montana is filled with folks that make, bake, and create wonderful one-of-a-kind items that would make perfect gifts this Holiday Season. Think about it, what could be better? That gift that is massed produced in some overseas factory, or something that was made right here in Montana.

If you haven't checked out the Made In Montana website, you really should. There are tons of different products that you can purchase for those on your gift list this year. Oh and here's even better news, there is something no matter what your budget is. From handmade crafts, to delicious meats, to soaps, whatever you're looking for, chances are someone in Montana is making it. Read more from KMMS here

Montana Film Office

MFO Logo

FY22 Big Sky Film Grant

The Montana Film Office is excited to announce that the Fiscal Year 2022 Big Sky Film Grant (BSFG) is open for submissions and will be awarding $1.5 million dollars in grant funds to selected productions — AND we’ve extended our deadline to November 29, 2021, 11:59 p.m., MST.

Grant applications are being accepted in 3 categories: Feature Film & TV, Resident Filmmaker, and Short-Form Content. Visit our BSFG webpage HERE for more details on categories and program details. Before applying, please read the program’s Instructions & Guidelines HERE.  

To be considered for the FY22 BSFG round, please apply by November 29, 2021 – 12:00 am, MST.

Applications are accepted via Submittable platform and found on our website HERE.

The BSFG program builds and supports partnerships with filmmakers and production companies with the intention to create Montana film industry jobs. The grant program enhances the marketing efforts of Montana’s tourism regions and advocates for the state’s people, history, and overall quality of life. The BSFG and the Montana Film Office are funded by the 4% Lodging Facility Use Tax - commonly known as the “Bed Tax.”

Tribal News

Our Grants Make a Big Difference to Montana Businesses

Sage & Oats Trading Post in Helena just launched its new website at Funded by a Tribal Tourism Digital Business Development grant from the Office of Indian Country Economic Development and developed by Proof Marketing, the new website adds an e-commerce system for buyers to order products directly from the store instead of through a third party. Sage & Oats is the first of 14 grant recipients to complete its project. Congratulations!

Apsáalooke Honor Tomb of Unknown 100 Years Later

Chief Plenty Coups descendants and Crow Nation representatives were the first to lay down flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in approximately a century.

The mid-Atlantic air is in the crisp 40s at 7 a.m. Dew sits on cars and the cool air is refreshing to the lungs. The grass, white steps and walkway to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier sparkle when the golden sunrise hits them.

It’s quiet at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Plaza. The public and press can only whisper.

One by one, eight members of the Chief Plenty Coups Honor Guard from Pryor, Montana, placed a flower down in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and saluted the unknowns Tuesday morning. The eight members are descendants of Chief Plenty Coups.

The mid-Atlantic air is in the crisp 40s at 7 a.m. Dew sits on cars and the cool air is refreshing to the lungs. The grass, white steps and walkway to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier sparkle when the golden sunrise hits them.

It’s quiet at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Plaza. The public and press can only whisper.

One by one, eight members of the Chief Plenty Coups Honor Guard from Pryor, Montana, placed a flower down in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and saluted the unknowns Tuesday morning. The eight members are descendants of Chief Plenty Coups. Read more from Indian Country Today here


McDonald’s Testing McPlant Burger in November Made with Montana Peas

McDonald’s says it’ll test the McPlant burger in restaurants next month, developed in partnership with Beyond Meat.

The USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council says it’s exciting news for U.S. pulse growers.

“The peas are grown in Montana and North Dakota, which are the two biggest producers in the United States,” said Todd Scholz, the council's vice president of research and member services. “If we can sell the McDonald's, that's an increase in demand we can really use to expand our production and expand our usage. It's just really exciting.”

He says given the recent export challenges facing pulses, having the ability to increase domestic demand is huge.

“So, having a domestic demand for peas is really important to U.S. producers and the potential is huge,” said Scholz. “McDonald's is usually successful. They've usually done their market analysis so they have a pretty good idea that this is going to work.” Read more from KTVQ here

Outdoor Recreation

Outdoor Rec Map

Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account, U.S. and States, 2020

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released statistics today measuring the outdoor recreation economy for the nation, all 50 states, and the District of Columbia. The new U.S. data show that the outdoor recreation economy accounted for 1.8 percent ($374.3 billion) of current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP) for the nation in 2020 (national table 3). At the state level, outdoor recreation value added as a share of state GDP ranged from 4.3 percent in Montana to 1.2 percent in New York and Connecticut.

Inflation-adjusted (real) GDP for the outdoor recreation economy decreased 19.0 percent from 2019 to 2020, compared with a 3.4 percent decrease for the overall U.S. economy. Real gross output for the outdoor recreation economy decreased 17.4 percent, while outdoor recreation compensation decreased 12.5 percent and employment decreased 17.1 percent.

In 2020, conventional outdoor recreation accounted for 37.4 percent of U.S. outdoor recreation value added, compared with 30.6 percent in 2019. The increase was due to higher spending on boating/fishing and RVing. Other outdoor recreation accounted for 16.8 percent of value added in 2020, compared with 19.7 percent in 2019. The decrease was driven by amusement parks/water parks and festivals/sporting events/concerts. Supporting activities accounted for the remaining 45.8 percent of value added in 2020, compared with 49.7 percent in 2019. Supporting activities, particularly travel and tourism-related activities, declined in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic as consumers traveled less and reduced spending at hotels and restaurants. Read more from BEA here

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


MontanaWinter is coming: These are the Coldest Places on Earth (That you can Still Visit)—Montana came in at number four in this list from The Travel. Not everyone is looking for a warm, tropical destination, and while these might be the coldest places on earth, they're also quite beautiful.
It's no secret that many travelers love visiting warmer locales with breezy summers and destinations with breathtaking beach views. However, as autumn is winding down, winter is approaching, calling for longer nights and shorter days.

Travelers need not worry: some of the coldest destinations on the planet are still worth visiting for their picturesque landscapes and unique winter activities. Read more from The Travel here


New Report from ITRR—Projected Impact of Visitor Limitations in Glacier National Park

With consistently increasing visitor numbers in Glacier National Park (GNP), park managers are working to come up with management solutions for transportation, visitation, visitor use, trails, and access within the Going-to-the-Sun Road (GTSR) corridor during peak season. The GTSR Corridor Management Plan Environmental Assessment was developed in September, 2019.

The preferred alternative included in the assessment is an adaptive management approach to address visitation levels, which includes strategies such as expanding the shuttle system, adding hiking and biking trails, and some changes to parking availability in various areas.

The objective of this study is to provide a review of various reservation systems used in other protected areas to address visitation levels, and gain an understanding of what the impact may be to areas around the park if a visitation cap or restricted access is enacted by GNP management. Read the full report here.

For all ITRR publications and interactive travel-related data, click here

Destination Analysts Update on American Travel Trends & Sentiment—Week of November 15 

Amidst a pandemic-era near record high in resident sentiment towards local tourism, last week’s reopening of the U.S. borders to international travelers was welcome news to the majority of American travelers—many of whom may be now inspired to venture abroad themselves. Meanwhile it looks to be a busy Thanksgiving travel week—likely one that exceeds even 2019 levels.

Key Findings

  • Amidst a near pandemic-era record high in resident sentiment towards local tourism, last week’s reopening of the U.S. borders to vaccinated (and COVID-tested) international travelers was welcome news to Americans. When asked about the lifting of international travel restrictions at this point in time, the majority of American travelers (53.8%) said that it was good or very good news. However, this development was relatively more positively received amongst travelers in the West (62.1%); meanwhile those in the Midwest demonstrated the comparatively lowest enthusiasm (47.4%). The reopening of the border is likely inspiring more Americans to venture abroad themselves—those that said they were avoiding international travel hit a record low 55.3%.

  • In more good news for the travel industry, the Thanksgiving holiday looks to be a busy one—possibly even exceeding 2019 travel levels. The percent of American travelers who say they plan to travel over the Thanksgiving Holiday has more than doubled compared to 2020—30.6% currently say they will versus 12.9% last year. This rate is even higher than in 2019, when 23.1% of American travelers reported taking a Thanksgiving holiday trip. As expected, COVID does remain a travel impediment, with 17.2% saying they have cancelled a Thanksgiving trip this year due to the ongoing pandemic (although this is down from 31.7% in 2020). Nevertheless, the enthusiasm for Thanksgiving travel this year is likely helped by high vaccination rates among travelers and their confidence in these vaccines’ ability to protect them against the virus (78.2% report being vaccinated, 63.2% feel firmly confident in their vaccine’s protection). In addition, taking a road trip, visiting friends and family, and shopping enjoy strong safety perceptions among travelers.

  • American travelers’ sense of normalcy has dropped slightly, but there has been a modest gain in optimism about COVID’s long-term status. Americans’ sense of normalcy around leisure activities has dropped 2 percentage points over the past two weeks. Now 29.6% of American travelers feel that the U.S. is “normal” or “close to normal,” down from 31.3%.” just two weeks ago. Despite the dip in American travelers’ sense of normalcy right now, fewer feel that COVID-19 will be with us in the longer term. In fact, 61.7% feel that the COVID-19 situation will remain with us at least for the next several years, compared to 65.9% the week of November 1st.

  • Unfortunately, a majority of Americans (53.8%) do feel that the U.S. will face another significant wave of COVID-19 in the short-term (i.e., at some point in the next three months). This feeling is strongest amongst Gen Xers (58.0%) and those residing in the Midwest (57.1%). This has started to erode the positive gains made in expectations for the COVID situation in the near-term, with more Americans now saying they expect things to get worse in the next month (23.3% up from 20.4% the week of November 1st).

  • These near-term expectations about the pandemic are contributing to nearly three-quarters of American travelers saying it’s important the destinations they visit continue to maintain careful COVID-19 safety protocols. While this feeling is even stronger amongst older travelers (76.9%), 68.4% of Millennials or younger travelers also deem public pandemic safety measures important in where they choose to travel.

  • American travelers are split on their comfortability with seeing maskless people in travel advertisements. While 30.0% are comfortable with this, 36.5% are uncomfortable, while 33.5% are neutral. Large crowds of people in travel ads are likely to draw more scrutiny though. While 21.0% of Americans are comfortable seeing large groups of people in travel ads now, 42.4% would be uncomfortable (36.6% are neutral).

Read more from the Destination Analysts report here.

Other News

ARP State Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Grant Announcement

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced on November 8, 2021 that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding $314 million in American Rescue Plan State Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation grants to 34 states and the District of Columbia. This includes $2.9 million to the Montana Department of Commerce for work by the Montana Office of Tourism. These dollars are intended to support State level resiliency planning with regional development and application. We plan to convene tribes, economic development organizations, local government, state parks and other agencies, tourism businesses, non-profit industry groups and others in comprehensive planning. In a second phase of this program, the department intends to award dollars through a competitive process for implementation of the priority action items within the resiliency plans. More specific information will be shared after further discussions and input from the EDA. Read the full announcement here

9 Travel Trends to Guide DMOs into 2022

More people are taking grand, long-delayed vacations and aren’t apologetic either.
Even the most seasoned industry expert might feel a little lost as the travel landscape continues to evolve unexpectedly. It’s a complex world. Some places are seeing a dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases, while others are seeing visitors return in droves. Many tourism destinations are in some form of recovery.

To help you lead your DMO through the haze, we’ve gathered a list of travel trends to watch. These insights come from our international staff who guide clients through the destination marketing cycle, including creative direction, strategy, brand, destination management, and marketing execution.

Here are nine travel trends that are especially relevant to travel in North America.

  1. Booking vacations at the last minute
  2. Booking two trips simultaneously, aka "trip stacking"
  3. Planning longer, bigger trips for 2022
  4. A decline in pandemic travel shaming
  5. Fear of the Delta variant
  6. Hesitancy toward family trips
  7. Vaccination or negative test requirements
  8. Mask mandates continue
  9. Visitor experiences vs. expectations

Read more from the DestinationThink! blog here.

Funding Resources

Value-Added Agriculture Grant Program

Department of Agriculture Accepting Concept Papers through December 15th
Governor Greg Gianforte recently launched a $7.5 million Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program to invest in value-added agricultural products across the state and strengthen the industry.

“Agriculture is Montana’s number one industry, and our administration is partnering with our ag industry to find ways to add value to commodities here in Montana,” Gov. Gianforte. “By investing in value-added processing and manufacturing in Montana, our producers will be able to keep pace with a transforming agricultural industry, create jobs, and expand business opportunities here in Montana.”

From now until December 15th, the program is accepting concept papers which will be reviewed and ranked by a panel of agricultural industry representatives. Select applicants will be invited to submit a full application for funding by February 2022, after which the ARPA Economic Transformation, Stabilization and Workforce Development Advisory Commission will consider final funding recommendations.

All grant requests through the program require a funding match to assure commitment from grant recipients. Applicants may apply for awards up to $150,000 with a 1:1 match; awards from $150,001 to $300,000 with a 2:1 match; or awards from $300,001 to $450,000 with a 3:1 match.

Interested parties can visit to view program guidelines and apply. Read more here

Montana Main Street Planning and Project Grant

The application cycle for the Montana Main Street Planning and Project Grant is now open for Montana Main Street member communities. The deadline to apply is December 9, 2021.

Grants are available for Montana Main Street member communities for comprehensive revitalization projects; this includes planning activities like a downtown master plan and project activities like seed money to implement a façade improvement program.

The Montana Main Street Planning and Project Grant application and further information on the program can be found here

If Montana Main Street member communities have questions about potential projects, please contact the Community Development Division at 406.841.2770 or

Farm to School Grant Program

The USDA is offering grants to plan, establish, and/or sustain a Farm to School program that improves access to local foods and nutrition/agriculture resources in schools. Click here for program guidelines and information.

Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections

The National Endowment for the Humanities is offering grants through The Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections program, which helps cultural institutions meet the complex challenge of preserving large and diverse holdings of humanities materials for future generations.

The program supports sustainable conservation measures that mitigate deterioration, prolong the useful life of collections, and support institutional resilience, which is the ability to anticipate and respond to disasters resulting from natural or human activity. Click here to review application guidelines.

Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions

The National Endowment for the Humanities offers Preservation Assistance Grants to help small and mid-sized institutions — such as libraries, museums, historical societies, archival repositories, cultural organizations, town and county records offices, and colleges and universities — improve their ability to preserve and care for their significant humanities collections.

These may include special collections of books and journals, archives and manuscripts, prints and photographs, moving images, sound recordings, architectural and cartographic records, decorative and fine art objects, textiles, archaeological and ethnographic artifacts, furniture, historical objects, and digital materials. Application deadline is January 13, 2022. For more information on the program and how to apply, click here.

FWP Recreation Grant Programs

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is making changes to its 2022 recreation grant program application cycles. Typically, applications for the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), the Off-Highway Vehicle Grant Program (OHV), the Montana Trail Stewardship Grant Program (MTSGP), and the new Summer Motorized Trail Pass Grant Program (SMTP) open on Nov. 1. However, a delay was needed so that FWP can revert to using WebGrants for the 2022 cycle.

FWP will begin accepting grant applications via the online system at as follows:

Training sessions for RTP and MTSGP will be offered virtually for prospective applicants. These sessions are free and highly recommended for new and returning applicants. The training provides tips on writing a competitive application, using the grant management software to submit an application and understanding differences and similarities between programs. Online joint trainings will be held via Zoom on Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 22, from 1 to 3 p.m.

For more information on attending a grant application training session or applying to one of these opportunities, visit the Recreational Trails Program webpage or the Montana Trail Stewardship Program webpage.

Other Events/Dates 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: