In-state tourism spending still worth billions to Montana economy

Posted at 6:33 AM, Jul 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-27 08:33:51-04

MISSOULA – A new report shows it’s not just out-of-state tourists spending money to see Big Sky Country. 

Traveling around to the state’s tourism hot spots like Glacier National Park, you might get the impression the stream of tourists are all coming from outside Montana. 

However, the new study from University of Montana Institute of Tourism and Recreation Research shows Montana residents are continuing to spend a lot of their vacation time — and a lot of their vacation money — right here at home. 

The numbers are pretty astonishing. Montana residents collectively took 13.5 million day trips and four million overnight trips, traveling at least 50-miles away from their home in 2017. That includes business trips. Combined, we spent $2.8 billion on in-state trips last year. 

The highest percentage of in-state travel dollars was spent in the Glacier and southwest Montana regions mainly because of the national parks. However, Yellowstone County — and specifically Billings — captures over 13% of all local travel spending. 

The report also shows that $153 million was spent in Missoula County which was second on the list.