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Montana tourism 2019: Nonresident spending down, visitor numbers up

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MISSOULA – About 12.6 million nonresidents visited Montana in 2019 and spent around $3.6 billion in the Treasure State, according to preliminary estimates by the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana.

The number of travelers visiting the state in 2019 appears to have increased slightly, up 2 percent compared to 2018. Despite the higher number of individual travelers, third quarter spending was down just over 1 percent compared to third quarter 2018. Slightly smaller group sizes, combined with shorter average stays in Montana, resulted in around a 2 percent decrease in total spending compared to 2018.

Visitor spending during 2019 supported an estimated 40,700 jobs directly and more than 56,000 jobs in total. Associated with those jobs is over $1.08 billion of labor income directly supported by nonresident spending.

An additional $602 million of labor income is indirectly supported by nonresident travel spending. These travelers contributed more than $222 million in state and local taxes in 2019.

The Outlaw Partners is a creative marketing, media and events company based in Big Sky, Montana.

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