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Visit Big Sky granted “Montana Aware” funding, launching additional tourism messaging

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By Tucker Harris 

BIG SKY– The “Montana Aware” tourism messaging campaign kicked off recently as the Montana Department of Commerce’s Office of Tourism and Business Development introduced the campaign to help safely guide in- and out-of-state travelers as they recreate in Montana to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.

The Coronavirus Relief Fund supplied the “Montana Aware” campaign with $15 million of the $1.25 billion that was awarded to the state by the CARES Act. Visit Big Sky received $225,000 on July 29 to fund public health messaging efforts in Montana for mandated messaging from the state with influence by the Gallatin City-County Health Department and use for their future tourism safety marketing efforts.

“Visit Big Sky is grateful for the grant funds received from the state of Montana to support and carry forward the ‘Montana Aware’ initiative,” said Candace Strauss CEO of Visit Big Sky. “Big Sky was born a destination ski resort. We live to recreate. But, we must all do our part and put safety first, adventure second for our residents, our frontline workers, our visitors and our visitor economy by adhering to CDC guidelines and being willing to #MaskUpMT. These monies make it possible for us to tell this story.”

None of the money from the “Montana Aware” campaign will be allocated for the purchase of personal protective equipment, however, VBS has applied for a Montana Business Adaptability grant, which would supply them with up to $10,000 to purchase PPE for community businesses and travelers.

VBS estimates about 450 local businesses will help share public health messaging on travel safety guidelines with their patrons via flyers, posters, and social media messaging. This partnership will aid another local community effort: the Stay Open and Stay Strong and Stay Safe campaign.

To learn more about the “Montana Aware” campaign, visit

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