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COVID-19 impacts on Montana’s outdoor economy will be severe

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“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (2) – 3/31/20

Montana is truly world-famous for its natural splendors. So famous, in fact, those wild places net the Treasure State over $7 billion in consumer spending each year—not to mention, support some 71,000 jobs, according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. People and businesses that rely on outsider dollars spent on outdoor activities have seen bookings come to a halt, and according to Norma Nickerson, director of the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana, it’s difficult to pin down when the slowdown might come to an end. The U.S. Travel Association bares no better news, predicting a large-scale tourism slowdown that will cost millions of Americans their jobs by the end of the year. According to the Chronicle, the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research has surveyed roughly 400 travel business owners across the state, and at least 1/3 of those businesses recorded cancellations before Montana even had a single confirmed case. The potential for a broader economic recession may also prove troubling, coupled with residual fears associated with flying in tight quarters with strangers.

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