2013 tourism rates increase 2.3 percent from 2012
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
HELENA – Gov. Steve Bullock and Montana Department of Commerce Director Meg
O’Leary on May 6 announced the record-breaking 2013 Montana tourism numbers,
during an event at the Great Northern Brewing Company in Whitefish.
“The Montana Office of Tourism and Montana’s tourism communities have worked
tirelessly to put this industry back on track and poised for growth,” Bullock said.
“It’s evident that those efforts are paying off – the number of people coming to our state
to have their own #MontanaMoment is more than ever before and they’re spending more
than ever, too,” he added, referring to the state’s tourism campaign.
According to the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of
Montana, the state hosted upwards of 11 million visitors last year, which is a 2.3 percent
increase from 2012. These visitors added more than $3.6 billion to Montana’s economy,
a 10.7 percent increase from 2012 and a number that shattered the 2007 visitor
Tourism is one of the top employers in Montana, directly employing over 44,000 people
at a payroll of $1.1 billion. It also contributed approximately $306 million in state and
local taxes, decreasing the tax liability for Montana households.
“Visitors come to Montana for the experiences,” said Commerce Director Meg O’Leary.
“They’re coming to experience our spectacular and unspoiled nature, vibrant and
charming small towns, and breathtaking experiences and relaxing hospitality.”
The quality of experience a visitor has in Montana may very well be the catalyst for
deciding to locate a business in the state, a fact as highlighted in the Governor’s recent
Main Street Montana Project Business Plan. One of the five pillars in the plan is to
market Montana by strengthening and promoting the Montana brand in order to recruit
businesses and employees as well as tourists.
“It was abundantly clear that business leaders and many other Montanans who
participated in the project see our quality of life as our greatest strength,” Bullock said.
“We can take lessons learned from the success of tourism communities and transfer that
knowledge to building Montana’s main street businesses.”