VOICES OF MONTANA TOURISM

BOZEMAN – Tourism was rated a top state export for 2013 in Montana’s Commodity Export Summary released on May 29 at the annual Manufacturing and International Trade Day.

The University of Montana’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research estimates tourism accounted for nearly $440 million through direct foreign visitor spending in 2013. More than 11 million non-residents visited Montana in 2013 and generated $3.62 billion in direct spending.

Tourism is one of three service exports identified in the recently published Main Street Montana Project business plan. Only the state’s overseas trade of bulk grain in 2013 surpassed the direct economic benefits of foreign travel to Montana in the same year.

“Tourism has been a leading, multi-billion dollar industry in Montana for the last few years,” said Mike Garcia, director of Voices of Montana Tourism. “With the state’s first-ever business plan focusing so much on our commodity and service exports, tourism is well-positioned to be an integral part in the next phase of economic development and business investment in our state.”

International travel to the U.S. is the nation’s number one service export, according to the U.S. Travel Association, and generated more than $181 billion in foreign visitor direct spending in 2013.

The Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research estimates that international visitors accounted for 12 percent, or 1.8 million, of Montana’s total non-resident visitors last year.