Friday Flash 12/3/21

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Reminders/Updates for Our Tourism Partners

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
    • January 26, 2022
    • March 23, 2022
    • May 25, 2022
    • July 27, 2022
    • September 28, 2022
    • November 23, 2022
  • January 1, 2022—Region/CVB FY21 Marketing Plan Completion Reports Due
  • January 20, 2022—Region/CVB 2nd Quarter FY22 Financial Reports Due
  • February 7, 2022—TAC Meeting (Virtual via Zoom)
  • April 20, 2022—Region/CVB 3rd Quarter FY22 Financial Reports Due
  • June 14-15, 2022—TAC Meeting (Lewistown)
  • 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 future funding opportunities by clicking here. For more information about the Tourism Grant Program, please visit our website at MARKETMT.COM

Made in Montana

Choose Local

We encourage you to support your local businesses when possible. You can find Made in Montana producers and retailers in your area by visiting   

If you are interested in locally sourced ingredients, check out this list of our Taste our Place members and savor Montana flavor.

2022 Made in Montana Tradeshow 

The Made in Montana Tradeshow for Food & Gifts is scheduled for March 11-12, 2022 in Helena at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds. 

Tribal News

SDSU/AIANTA Information Session on Certificate in Cultural Tourism & Tribal Enterprises

In partnership with San Diego State University (SDSU) the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and The Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming, AIANTA is offering the online Certificate in Cultural Tourism and Tribal Enterprises (“CTTE”). The for-credit certificate, taught by Eric S. Trevan, Ph.D. (Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, Gun Lake Tribe), brings together academic and industry experts who will provide tools to help Native tourism planners develop tribally specific tourism strategies that sustain a balance between tribal and Native cultural environments, economic development, tourism promotion and recreational use. Students will learn global best practices in the effective organization of tribal and Native cultural sites, recreation and tourism programs and leisure-related tribal businesses, including tribal gaming, hospitality operations and sacred sites.

  • Date: Monday, December 6, 2021
  • Time: 10:00 a.m. (MST/New Mexico)

For more information, or to register, click here

Cultural/Heritage News

"Shots Felt 'Round Montana: History and Community Health" Project

Funded by a SHARP project grant from Humanities Montana, the "Shots Felt 'Round Montana: History & Community Health" project will bring an exhibit created by the Carter County Museum to ten rural communities throughout the state in 2022.

Designed and produced on-site at the Carter County Museum in Ekalaka, Montana, the exhibition "Shots Felt 'Round the World: Maurice Hilleman and the Montana Origins of the Fight Against Pandemics" provides historical context for the subjects of vaccines, infectious disease, and healthcare. The exhibition consists of 14 retractable banners and two additional banners specific to the host community.

“This exhibit will enhance understanding of the role viruses play in human health through a public display, community film discussion of the documentary HILLEMAN: A Perilous Quest to Save the World's Children, and an optional K-12 curriculum which can be used by local school districts,” Carter County Museum executive director, Sabre Moore, says. “Thanks to our Humanities Montana SHARP grant, we can make this exhibit and the accompanying materials available to museums across Montana.”

Nonprofit institutions interested in hosting the exhibition and film discussion are invited to contact Sabre Moore for more information. There will be a small stipend for participating institutions to help fund the film discussion. Preference will be given to rural museums and institutions (libraries can apply as well!), but all are welcome.

Tour Museum, Mansion for Free this Season

It’s the best time of the year to enjoy the Montana Historical Society Museum, store, and Research Center, as well as the Original Governor’s Mansion

  • Free admission will be offered all month to Montana’s Museum every Friday and Saturday. The week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day also will be free admission. The Montana Historical Society is at 225 N. Roberts in Helena. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Come see the Original Governor’s Mansion decked out in its holiday finery. Free tours will be offered Saturdays Dec. 4, 11, and 18, and on Tuesday, Dec. 28, through Thursday, Dec. 30. Tours begin on the hour at noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. The mansion is at 304 N. Ewing in Helena.

Please note, both facilities will be closed for the holidays on Friday, Dec. 24, and Friday, Dec. 31, as well as Christmas and New Year's Day.

Outdoor Recreation

Montana Access Project Path Ahead Webinar Series:

  • December 7, 2021 (11:00 a.m.)—The Latest on Current and Potential State Funding Opportunities for Outdoor RecreationThis webinar is co-sponsored by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and WGM Group.

    Key takeaways:
    • Latest on current and potential funding opportunities through Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
    • Latest on current and potential funding opportunities through Montana Department of Commerce
    • Latest on current and potential funding opportunities for active transportation and shared use paths 
    • For more information or to register for this webinar, click here
  • December 14, 2021 (11:00 a.m.)—The Latest on Current and Potential Federal Funding Opportunities for Outdoor Recreation

    Key takeaways:
    • Insight into current and potential federal resources for recreation development in rural MT communities 
    • Latest on outdoor recreation initiatives fueling economic recovery  
    • How parks, trails and recreation access fit into infrastructure funding 
    • Update on national initiativeincluding America the Beautiful and 30x30 
    • For more information or to register for this webinar, click here

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


AnacondaDiscover Anaconda to Focus on Bringing in Tourism—Two Anaconda companies are working together to form Discover Anaconda in the hopes of focusing on more tourism opportunities.

Anaconda Local Development Corporation and the Chamber of Commerce have decided to merge their companies after one of the busiest tourist seasons they've seen in three years.

"There are all sorts of things you can do within 20 to 30 minutes away," said Anaconda tourism director Mary Johnston. "This last summer was the biggest summer we've had -- even bigger than the 100-year celebration for the smelter stack."

Johnston explained that, through the years, the tourism demand has become too much for her to handle on her own. Discover Anaconda will be able to provide more information to those interested in more than just a short-term visit.

"Sometimes, I'm first contact for people that just happened to be going through and they really like Anaconda," explained Johnston. "(They ask) what kind of opportunities are there for a new business -- I could tell them a few things, but I'd refer them to the Anaconda Local Development Corporation." Read more from NBC Montana here

West YellowstoneWest Yellowstone Ski Festival Canceled Due to Lack of Snow
An annual West Yellowstone ski festival has been canceled for the first time in the event’s three decade history due to a lack of snow. The Yellowstone Ski Festival can draw up to 4,000 people to the small town just outside the national park.

Melissa Alder, co-owner of the shop Freeheel & Wheel, said West Yellowstone is known for having the first groomed ski trails in the country, but the snow didn’t fall this year. “We just couldn’t offer high quality — even any — groomed skiing that was going to hold up.” The festival offers ski clinics, apres events, groomed skiing and races in Custer Gallatin National Forest.

Historic drought conditions have persisted in Montana, although the northwest part of the state has gotten more moisture in the last couple of months. Read more from MTPR here


Destination Analysts Update on American Travel Trends & Sentiment—Week of November 29 

The outlook for travel in 2022 is shaping up in a promising way, with more trips overall and to a more diverse set of destinations. The near-term outlook is also positive, although current COVID and financial concerns will need to be assuaged.

Key Findings

  • Travel’s outlook for 2022 looks promising. As shown in the infographic below, when Americans were asked to describe their travel in 2022, top choices include “hopeful,” “excited,” “fun” and “more.” In fact, 33.2% of American travelers say they will take more leisure trips in the next year and the same proportion (33.4%) say they will spend more money on their leisure travel in 2022. The average reported leisure travel budget for 2022 is currently $3,797.

    Beaches, rural towns and national/state parks destinations will still be where a majority of American travelers head, with more than 70% reporting plans for these types of destinations. Meanwhile, 66.2% of travelers currently say they plan to visit cities, although 29.3% report that they will increase their urban travel in 2022.

    When asked to list the domestic destinations they most want to visit in 2022, Florida, New York, Las Vegas, California, Hawaii and Texas are top among American travelers as they look forward to 2022. However, domestic destinations will face more competition again as 23.6% say they will increase their international travel in 2022.

    American travelers also look to continue to take trips to make up for time missed out on with loved ones during the pandemic: 39.2% say they will increase their family travel in 2022 and 32.8% will increase their travel with friends.

DA Graphic
  • The near-term outlook for travel is also favorable, although growing COVID and financial concerns are weighing factors. The average American traveler reports they will take 2.4 overnight trips in the next three months, and 80.3% have travel plans right now. Over 70% of American travelers did some travel dreaming or planning in the past week alone, particularly discussing potential or upcoming trips with others. However, the number of American travelers feeling that COVID-19 will be with us for the long-term is rising (up to 63.9% this week from 61.7% the week of November 15th), as is the number anticipating that the U.S. will face another significant wave of COVID-19 (up 2 percentage points this week to 55.8%).

    Optimism about the course the pandemic will take in the U.S. over the next month has dropped nearly 12 percentage points in the last two weeks (26.9%), while pessimism has grown 10 percentage points, so that now one-third expect the situation to get worse soon.

    When asked what is deterring them from traveling more this Winter, COVID-19-related concerns were chief among American travelers. Financial concerns are also weighing more heavily on travelers’ minds. Gas prices, concerns that travel is too expensive right now, and personal financial reasons are all among the top 5 issues deterring Americans from traveling more right now. Nevertheless, travel remains a bright spot for many–64.9% of Americans said that they would be “happy” or “very happy” to receive a travel-related gift for the holidays.

Read more from the Destination Analysts report here.

Funding Resources

USDA Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program

Deadline: December 31, 2021, March 31 & June 30, 2022

  • USDA is accepting applications for its Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program. This program Provides loans and grants to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs) to:
    • Provide microloans for microenterprise startups and growth through a Rural Microloan Revolving Fund.
    • Provide training and technical assistance to microloan borrowers and micro entrepreneurs.
  • Tourism Tip: This grant could help fund your tourism startup. Click here for more information. 

Farm to School Grant Program

Deadline: January 10, 2022

  • 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. 

National Park Service: Underrepresented Community Grants

Deadline: January 11, 2022

  • National Park Service’s Underrepresented Community Grant Program (URC) works towards diversifying the nominations submitted to the National Register of Historic Places. URC grants are funded by the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), and are administered by the NPS. Projects include surveys and inventories of historic properties associated with communities underrepresented in the National Register, as well as the development of nominations to the National Register for specific sites.

  • Tourism Tip: This grant can help fund a tourism initiative in your underrepresented community. For more information, click here.

Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections

Deadline: January 13, 2022

  • 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

Deadline: January 13, 2022

  • 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. For more information on the program and how to apply, click here.

Economic Development Agency: American Rescue Plan Act Travel, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation

Deadline: January 31, 2022

  • Subject to the availability of funds, awards made under this notice of funding opportunity will help communities and regions devise and implement sustainable economic recovery strategies through a variety of non-construction and construction projects to respond to damage to the travel, tourism and outdoor recreation sectors from the coronavirus pandemic and to promote the economic resilience of regions dependent on those industries. Tourism Tip: Use this grant to help recover your tourism business. For more information, click here

FWP Recreation Grant Programs

Various Deadlines Dependent on the Program

  • 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. 8, 15 and 22, from 1:00 to 3:00 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.

USDA ReConnect Loan and Grant Program

Deadline: Rolling

  • The ReConnect Program offers loans, grant, and loan-grant combinations to facilitate broadband deployment in areas of rural America that currently do not have sufficient access to broadband. In facilitating the expansion of broadband services and infrastructure, the program will fuel long-term rural economic development and opportunities in rural America. Applications are now being accepted for FY2022.

  • Tourism Tip: This grant can help reconnect broadband services in rural areas which would include use by visitors. Click here for more information. 

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: