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Tourism industry sees boost following Phase 2 announcement

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Montana No. 1 business-friendly climate in U.S.

“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (2) – 5/21/20

According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, things are looking up for some local tourism industry players following the Gov. Steve Bullock’s May 19 announcement Montana will enter Phase 2 of reopen plans—which notably lifts a previously mandated 14-day self quarantine for those traveling to Montana from outside the state, along with allowing bars and restaurants to operate at 75 percent capacity, permit gatherings up to 50 in number and allow new establishments, like bowling alleys, to open. “Less than 24 hours after Gov. Steve Bullock announced the mandatory quarantine for out-of-state visitors would be lifted June 1, about 100 new reservations for the summer and fall were made at RSVP Motel on North Seventh Avenue in Bozeman,” the Chronicle reported. RSVP Motel saw occupancy drop from 80 to 10 percent following the pandemic-related shutdowns. While anecdotal, similar results have been experienced or are expected in other Montana lodging offerings. Another positive piece of data to draw upon is that shared by Brian Sprenger, airport director for Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport: the number of travelers at BZN was down to a shocking 3 percent in April, but has jumped to 8-10 percent in May and is expected to hit closer to 15-20 by June. As for the business climate of the Treasure State, The Sidney Herald reports Montana is actually leading the nation, earning a No. 1 spot in a recent analysis by Zippia, a business-minded data collection company. Zippia used three criteria in making this finding—the date COVID-19 restrictions were lifted; business capacity (normal versus current); and COVID-19 tests per confirmed case. Montana is followed closely by neighboring North Dakota, with Tennessee, Alaska and Alabama claiming seeds 3, 4 and 5, respectively.

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