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State taking different approach to tourism marketing due to pandemic

Montana tourism spending soars
Posted at 9:22 PM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 14:58:33-04

HELENA — Still hobbled by pandemic-related travel restrictions, the State of Montana is taking an entirely different track in tourism marketing this spring.

The approach is aimed at telling out-of-state visitors to be patient.

Normally at this point of the year, Montana's tourism marketing is in high gear, targeting national and international travelers to come to Big Sky Country to savor their "Montana moment".

But with the pandemic's impact continuing to slam the tourism industry, the Department of Commerce is running a new campaign, telling travelers Montana is "worth the wait".

"The main message is that a trip to Montana is worth the wait," said Department of Commerce Director of Communications, Emilie Ritter. "So Visit Montana has released a new video aiming to inspire travelers, and remind them, that Montana is an amazing destination to visit. But now's not the right time to travel. Montana's worth the wait."

On first pass, that might seem counterintuitive, telling people to NOT come to Montana. But there's a strategy behind the unusual message. The state says it needs to send the message that the coronavirus has meant Montana is being as cautious as everywhere else in the U.S. and that out-of-state travel is still being discouraged. But just as importantly, Saunders says the "spot" will help keep Montana on people's minds for a trip when conditions do open up…

"We want visits to keep Montana top of mind," said Saunders. "So when the time is right to travel they're thinking of Montana, they see Montana as an amazing destination to visit. And really there's no better way to inspire visitors and get them thinking of Montana than showing them a 60-second video showing off all that Montana has to offer."

The video has been online for a couple of weeks, being shared with all the people who had contacted the state for travel information, and has replaced the video advertising that had already been placed for this season…

"It'll also be shared with travel trade partners that we have in Europe, Australia and Japan," said Saunders.

The video is running adjacent to other videos posted by the state's regional travel groups, all carrying the same message of patience, with eventual payoff for Montana travel.

The "Worth the Wait" video will continue to be used until Governor Bullock lifts the restriction requiring out-of-state travelers to quarantine for 14-days.