Visitors to Montana spent $3.24 billion last year and most of that money went to areas around Glacier and Yellowstone National Park.
The state’s tourism industry receipts were revealed as part of a report from the University of Montana’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research.
According to that report, tourism receipts increased 2.6 percent between 2016 and 2017. The Glacier and Yellowstone travel regions received 33 percent and 29 percent of the spending respectively.
Of the 56 counties in Montana, two counties in particular attraction the lion’s share of spending: Gallatin, with $660 million in spending, and Flathead, with $531 million.
Nonresident spending is a significant contributor to Montana’s economy. Money spent by those traveling to and through the state has an effect not only on the businesses where spending occurs, but it ripples throughout Montana’s economy, both locally and regionally, said the report.
Among the items visitors spent the most money on were gas, food and drink, lodging, guides, and retail sales.
Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Daryl Schliem told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that the overall increase in tourism spending was likely due to an aggressive marketing campaign launched six years ago by various tourism entities in Gallatin and part of Park County. Those involved in the campaign included the Bozeman Chamber, Yellowstone Club, the Big Sky Chamber, the airport and Moonlight Basin, the newspaper reported.
Bozeman is the county seat for Gallatin and is convenient to West Yellowstone’s entrance into Yellowstone National Park.
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