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

spending record. 

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.”